October 16, 1997 in Washington Voices

Panthers Prepare For Undefeated Bears

By The Spokesman-Review

The way for Mead to repeat as Greater Spokane League football champions is with a victory tonight over unbeaten Central Valley.

It won’t be easy.

“They’re so big, they’re illegal,” said Mead coach Bob McCray about the opponent.

In five games to date the Bears are averaging 44 points per contest and allowing 15.

Against three North Side foes, Shadle Park, Rogers and North Central, they averaged 42 points - by halftime.

“CV’s the class of the league,” said McCray. “The rest of us kinda beat each other up. We hope we can hang with ‘em.”

One thing in Mead’s favor is its past dominance of the Bears. Over the past 13 seasons, Mead has 10 wins and a tie.

The 4-1 Panthers are coming off an emotional overtime victory against previously unbeaten Gonzaga Prep.

“The key to the thing was the defensive staff put together a plan,” said McCray. “We gambled a lot and contained Kevin O’Connell about as well as you can. The other thing is we knocked their fullback out and he’s a good football player.”

Bullpup Shane Wharton, Prep’s second-leading rusher, injured a knee and is lost to the team. He was seventh in rushing with a 6.3 average going into the game.

Each team scored twice in overtime but a missed extra point by Prep, with its long snapper also sidelined by injury, proved the difference.

“Even if we’d have lost I was really proud of the way we played,” said McCray. “I think they felt the same way. It was a hard-fought game.”

Gonzaga had the ball 80 plays for 344 yards. Mead ran 72 plays for 390.

By contrast during a 19-10 loss to Lewis and Clark the week before, the Tigers rushed 49 times and had the ball for 66 plays for 359 yards. Mead only ran 48 plays for 190.

LC has won four straight because of a punishing, ball-control rushing game averaging 316 yards per game.

Rogers was the latest to be stymied by LC, which rushed 52 times for 359 yards during its 23-7 win.

Mead and CV play at 5 p.m. followed by the Pirates-University game at Joe Albi Stadium.

“We’ll just run our base stuff and try and not let them break long runs on us,” said McCray. “It doesn’t do much good to blitz. They’re so big they can tip you with one hand and knock you clear off course.”

Mead must play a perfect game, McCray concluded, and CV must make mistakes.

North Central was the latest to face CV’s juggernaut, trailing 42-0 at halftime and losing four players to injury.

“That’s eight positions,” said coach Wes Hobbs.

In addition to Brian Mack, Aaron Dacy, Ray Bowser and Jim McCullough to minor hurts.

“Second half the score was 7-6,” said Hobbs. “I told them that those players will work to get better for next year. That’s what we have to do.”

Pirates upset league unbeaten

One week remains in Greater Spokane League volleyball, but permit the Rogers Pirates to recall fondly last Saturday.

Rogers upset previously unbeaten Mead during the Spokane Crossover Classic to remain fifth in the GSL.

“We lost to Ferris at 7:30 in the morning and did not even give them a fight,” said coach Anna Vanderpool. “That was fuel for the fire against Mead. The girls played a really gutsy game.”

A favorable schedule remains for the Pirates who should have their second-straight winning season.

Mead, following Tuesday night’s loss at Ferris, dropped out of first place, but should finish no worse than second in league.

During the Crossover, Shadle Park placed seventh and remained fourth in league with GSL counting wins over North Central and University.

Rogers placed 12th in the 36-team tournament. Gonzaga placed 10th, Mead was 18th and Mt. Spokane 32nd.

Great Northern feature

Lakeside High’s football playoff chances rest with Friday’s Great Northern League game at Medical Lake.

The Eagles are part of a four-team tie for second place with the Cardinals, Pullman and Deer Park.

It will take victory this week or next at unbeaten Chewelah to remain in state tourney contention.

, DataTimes

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