Don Anderson made one last walk up the ramp at Albi Stadium, arm around his wife. As he neared the top, the disappointed Gonzaga Prep football team and coaching staff gave their retiring coach a mournful standing ovation.
Though he shared their disappointment, Anderson broke into a grin, gave his players a thumbs up and said, “Thanks.”
Anderson is retiring after 36 years of coaching, 25 at Gonzaga Prep. His career ended with a 10-0 loss to Kamiakin in the State 4A playoffs.
“It’s a little early,” Anderson said after the game, “it really hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I can look around here and, after I get this game out of my mind a little bit, see a lot of great memories at different parts of the field. I’ve been very fortunate.
“It’s tough to realize it. You know it’s coming, but it comes abruptly. You try to steel yourself for it and get ready but you never do get totally ready for the fact that this is the end.
“They can never take the memories away.”
Nor the 272 wins, 15 league titles and two state championships.
When Greg Kittrell returned for his second stint as Moses Lake head football coach three years ago, he brought along a 180-degree change in philosophy.
“We were first to run a spread offense,” said Kittrell, who had coached for 11 years before resigning to work on an advanced degree.
“When I came back I wondered, what’s the missing element? Ball control. What’s the best ball control? The old-fashioned Texas wishbone.” Kittrell said.
The Chiefs parlayed ball control and a drop to the new 3A Mid-Valley League into their first state football playoff appearance, a 26-7 victory over Cheney last week.
Kittrell’s defensive coordinator, Moses Lake athletic director Steve Bartelle, was an East Valley High football assistant 20 years ago.
The former Washington State University linebacker said the defense improved each game since its 37-32 loss to Prosser.
“Some screwy things happened in that game,” said Bartelle.
Against Cheney, the visiting Chiefs allowed just 173 yards of total offense, 112 on 12 rushes by fullback Logan Royce. They had the football for 30 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Moses Lake gets a rematch with the unbeaten Mustangs this weekend.
If Central Valley beats Kamiakin, the Bears will be home Thanksgiving weekend against the Bellarmine-Puyallup winner. However, Eastern Washington University has Albi Stadium booked for an NCAA Division I-AA playoff game, so the high school game probably will be played Friday or Saturday at 6 p.m.
Around the state
Courtesy of Newberry’s Washington Prep Football Report
4A playoffs: Tumwater missed the playoffs for the first time since 1985… . Bellarmine, which lost 20-14 to Prep in its second game, beat Columbia River 19-18 with a TD pass on fourth-and-14 with 1:30 left… . Bethel had five interceptions in a 20-8 win over Inglemoor… . Kentridge ran for 416 yards in a 57-28 win over Central Kitsap, led by Keegan Dougherty’s 215 yards and five TDs.
3A playoffs: Newport beat Clover Park 63-56 behind six touchdowns by Mike Cooney. Three TDs came after Clover Park fumbled away kickoffs. Clover Park had four TDs in the fourth quarter… Bart Stray, a senior playing his first season of football, picked off three passes in Issaquah’s 14-7 playoff win over Mariner, returning one to the 1 to set up the winning TD… . Travis Kirby threw for 397 yards and five TDs, giving him 37 this year with only five picks, in Lakes’ 60-34 win over Lynden… . Ferndale’s Matthias Wilson ran for 197 yards in a 62-7 romp over Eastside Catholic, pushing him past 2,000 yards.
2A playoffs: No more fighting around the dinner table at the Curtis house in Colfax. Earlier this season, quarterback Tyson Curtis was profiled on this page. This week, it’s his step-brother Josh Robinson… . Port Townsend entered the season with a 20-game losing streak but made the 2A playoffs before losing 13-6 to Meridian in overtime… . Eatonville beat Castle Rock 27-10 as Tyler Kranbrink scored on a run, a reception and an interception… . Elma’s Ben Dougherty passed for 349 yards and four TDs, including a 96-yarder, in a 28-22 win over Mount Baker.
1A playoffs: Tacoma Baptist beat White Salmon 54-40 as Chris Gruener passed for 385 yards and six TDs. Tim Gwyn had 252 yards receiving… . Ilwaco scored on an 80-yard screen pass with 7 seconds remaining only to lose 27-21 to Adna in overtime. Beau Ramsey, who caught the screen pass, also had a 90-yard kickoff return… . Concrete edged Onalaska 16-15 by scoring with 1:32 remaining and converting a two-point conversion on a fake kick… . Royal lost top running back Josh DeLay on the first play from scrimmage and only led 12-0 at the half before hammering Chelan 43-0… . Okanogan held Zillah to 17 yards of total offense in a 55-0 win.
B-11 playoffs: First-year school Chief Leschi improved to 4-5 with a first-round win over North Beach, 14-6… . Darrington edged Napavine 14-13 as Justin Buell intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:51 to play. Napavine scored with 3:50 remaining but missed the PAT kick… . Wahkiakum trailed Orcas 10-0 with 3 minutes left before winning 14-10. A forced fumble, a 78-yard TD pass and an on-side kick put the Mules in position to win, which they did on a short TD pass with 54 seconds remaining.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Dave Trimmer The Spokesman-Review