Even though two starters were struck down by ankle sprains, Central Valley took a big step toward its first Greater Spokane League football title in 12 years.
During Thursday’s 31-20 win over Gonzaga Prep, the Bears lost star-crossed Ricky Giampietri on his team’s third scrimmage play and 298-pound tackle Mike Caruso seven plays later when they first scored.
“We had kids fill in and shuffled the defensive secondary around,” said coach Rick Giampietri. “I’m really pleased with how we settled things defensively when Rick went down.”
It took seldom-used tight end Jeff Allen to help CV weather a shaky second quarter and remain unbeaten after trailing for the first time this year.
Allen was a major factor in CV’s passing attack last year. This season he had caught only one pass since the opening game of the season and three all year.
But with the Bears leading 17-14 early in the fourth quarter he made a 22-yard reception on third and nine that led to a Bear touchdown. Four minutes later he made an amazing one-handed catch and ripped through Prep’s defense for a 33-yard TD that put CV up by 17 points.
“Jeff just made a great catch and great run after it,” said coach Rick Giampietri.
True to his prediction, the Bear offense, injuries and bad hands notwithstanding, was overwhelming.
Strong-legged Giorgio Usai rushed for 248 yards, and two touchdowns. Quarterback R.J. DelMese was 10 of 15 for 160 yards. Wide receiver Ryan Millar caught 5 passes for 78 yards.
And the defense, in holes because of four lost fumbles, came up big when necessary. Included were sophomore nose guard Will Beck, linebackers Allen and Luke Stavros and defensive end Nate Bartlett who made life miserable for Bullpup quarterback (and former Horizon Junior High star) sophomore Kevin O’Connell. He was sacked five times.
Central Valley is 6-0 and needs one win in remaining games against North Central and Ferris to win league. NC was the team that knocked the Bears out of the playoffs last year.
“Our kids will be ready to play, we’ve got to get some revenge,” said Giampietri. “It’s more than just an NC game. It’s a playoff game.”
U-Hi in race for second place
In the wake of CV’s victory, attention now focuses on second place in the GSL and University High is very much a part of it.
With their second successive convincing victory, 30-0 over North Central, the 3-2 Titans are among five teams hoping good things will happen over the next three weeks.
First they need some help. Mead must lose twice, including to Gonzaga next Thursday.
Then they need to take care of business during season-ending games Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 against Prep and Lewis and Clark.
Thursday night U-Hi got two touchdown passes from Casey Cornelius to his speedy receivers, a 50-yarder to Kurt Moore and 24-yarder to Joe Jeffries to lead 24-0 at half.
A habit-forming fumble return for a score, this one by lineman Mike Clark completed scoring.
The defense gave up just 60 yards of offense while pitching the shutout.
Cornelius passed for 160 yards including seven completions by Jeffries for 115 yards.
Race lives up to billing
The race was befitting the status of the state’s number one and three ranked AA girls cross country teams.
Defending state champion East Valley edged West Valley 27-28 in a thriller to virtually decide the Frontier League championship.
It was Cara Smith’s two-second advantage over WV freshman Casey Lounder in the race for fifth and sixth that ultimately settled the outcome.
“Cara saved us, she pulled us out of the tank,” said a stunned EV coach Nick Lazanis.
He had called the race earlier in the week when he said it would depend upon whether his team broke up the Eagle one-two punch of Jessica Riehle and Heather Harmon.
Harmon ran well behind Knights Angie Simmers and Ann Marie Adams before finishing 12 seconds in front of the behind her course recordsetting teammate Riehle.
“I just race,” she said.
Lazanis said he still thinks his girls can outrun Harmon. “We ran a big race at Richland and that might have had an effect,” he said.
The state rankings, despite their obvious accuracy, are somewhat meaningless. Only one of the two teams will qualify for the end-ofseason meet and a potential trophy winner must stay home.
“If the girls run to their potential we will win district,” said Lazanis.
Riehle, who has in her three years at WV improved during nearly every race, welcomes the rematch.