A pair of newcomers has provided the medicine East Valley needed to cure its football malaise.
Seniors Rob Gillespie, who transferred from Selah, Wash., and Tristan Beeman, who played last year at Rogers, have eased into major roles for the Knights.
A week earlier, against Clarkston, Gillespie gained 92 yards on 8 carries in his first major appearance. Last week, in a 45-21 win over Riverside, Beeman scored four touchdowns and rushed for 143 yards
Friday, the pair will be called upon further when EV “hosts” Cheney Friday at Central Valley. As an alternate home site CV hasn’t been advantageous. The Knights will be after their first win in three games there.
Who would have thought the EV-Cheney game, between last year’s first- and second-place Frontier League finishers, would be for playoff survival and not the league lead this early in the season?
But both teams are 1-1 and share third place behind a pair of unbeaten teams.
The Frontier League is evenly balanced, witness last week’s game between winless West Valley and league leader Colville.
The Eagles led 28-18 after three quarters before losing 31-28.
Sophomore Chris Hilsabeck continues to be an impact player for WV. In four games he has been a primary rusher and receiver for the Eagles, scoring six times.
Against Colville, Hilsabeck had a 59-yard run for a score, caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Ty Gregorak and scored again from 14 yards out in the first half.
Valley teams in Albi twinbill
Followers of Greater Spokane League football teams Central Valley and University can get a double dose of action at Albi Stadium on Friday.
The Bears will be after their third win when they play North Central at 5:45 p.m. U-Hi follows against Mead.
By cutting down on mistakes and penalties, CV was able to control University in the second half of their game last week.
“I think their size eventually wore the defense down,” said Titan coach Mike Ganey.
He added that a missed field goal just before half and fumbled kickoff in the third quarter turned the game around.
The miscue came after CV’s Peter Martin kicked a field goal for a 10-3 lead with 4:50 left. His second, to make it 13-3, came with 2:06 left in the period.
“It kind of took the wind out of our sails,” said Ganey.
Central Valley used four running backs to limit the Titans to two series and seven plays in the second half. The team will try to do the same against NC.
U-Hi’s foe is unbeaten GSL leader. And the Titans will play the Panthers with a new quarterback, junior Chris Short.
“We need to play a close to perfect ball game against Mead,” said Ganey. “We lost a team leader in Rob (Bartlett). At the same time Chris is capable.”
Early showdown for EV
East Valley’s boys and girls cross country teams open the season against one of the teams expected to challenge them for Frontier League honors.
The Knight teams race Riverside at Bear Lake County Park Thursday at 4 p.m.
Both Riverside teams won twice last week. The Knights had a bye. Over the weekend EV’s defending state champion girls won and the boys finished second in the Can-Am Invitational.
Knight girls had six of the top 10 finishers, Cara Smith placing second in 19:16, and scored 28 points to Chewelah’s 60.
The boys lost to defending state champion Chewelah 25-51. Dustin Sletner, Ryan Coordes and Jim Marlow finished fourth through sixth, separated by two seconds.
WV cross country takes hit Although West Valley won its first two Frontier League cross country dual meets, neither score, 26-30 over Clarkston and 25-31 over Colville, was impressive.
The loss of number three runner Eric Gorton to injury was a reason.
Gorton was hurt in a water-skiing accident the afternoon following his sixth-place finish in the junior race at the All Valley meet Sept. 14.
Titans second at SunFair
Strong races by support runners produced University High’s second-place finish at the SunFair Invitational cross country meet in Yakima.
Titan number seven runner Matt Henshaw was fifth in his flight race, number six runner Mark Davis placed second, number five runner Pat Maguire and number four runner Jeff Rees placed fourth, and number two runner Seth Mott was seventh.
They combined for 22 of the Titans’ 50 points in the race.
The girls had five top-six placers and finished fourth. Central Valley’s Rob Warnock was seventh overall and Leslie Meredith was second in the flight race for number four runners.
Meaningful soccer games
In a league where parity is evident, Friday’s Greater Spokane League soccer games are significant for University and Central Valley.
The Titans host Gonzaga Prep and the Bears host Shadle Park in 4 p.m. games.
Prep and Shadle were both a game up on the Titans and Bears heading into the week.
Victories by the Valley schools would tighten the race.