Speed and quickness may not have been enough for Gonzaga Prep to beat second-ranked Central Valley but throw in heart and brains and it was a mismatch.
Playing with heart and following game plans devised by Don Anderson on offense and H.T. Higgins on defense, the Bullpups dominated the Bears Thursday night at Albi Stadium. Even the 24-14 score doesn’t do justice to the old-fashioned whippin’ administered by the Bullpups.
“It was just fill every gap and hit as hard as we can,” Prep defensive tackle Chris Gum said. “Coach gave us a good defensive strategy. We changed the whole defense. We almost had an eight-man front.”
It worked to perfection, holding a team that averaged 293 yards rushing - as well as 45 points - a game to 16 yards on the ground.
On the other side, Prep exploited a team that had allowed 56 yards on the ground for 305. Bullpups quarterback Kevin O’Connell ravaged the Bears, who had not allowed a back to reach 100 yards, for 204 yards, topping 100 in the first half.
“I’ve been watching them all year. I went to school with some of them,” O’Connell said. “We just tried to outquick them. That’s what we did.”
Anderson downplayed any fancy strategy. “We just wanted to do something we normally do. They’re big physically, but you can’t change everything,” he said. “Kevin O’Connell is a warrior. I can’t say enough about his heart and courage. He ran the option perfectly.”
Prep can earn the Greater Spokane League’s top seed into the playoffs with a win next Thursday over U-Hi. Prep, CV and Lewis and Clark are tied for first with the Bears facing LC next week.
In Thursday’s first game, Danny Crowley made a leaping catch of a 23-yard pass from Brett Oglesbee two plays after the Rogers defense stuffed Ferris in overtime to give the Pirates a 27-21 win over the Saxons.
“That’s for the seniors. That’s a memory,” Crowley, a sophomore, said. “It’s real special. It’s the seniors’ last game. I’m not going to be able to play with my some of my best friends again.”
The doubleheader drew 2,660.
Gonzaga Prep 24, Central Valley 14
The Bears (7-1 overall, 6-1 GSL) struck first, but it was just an illusion as the Bullpups (7-1, 6-1) were the team with confidence.
For example, O’Connell outsmarted the defense on the option, with the Bears rarely getting enough defenders to the outside to stop a sweep or a cut inside.
Prep made a first down on the first play of the game but had to punt. CV fumbled the ball away on its first play.
The Bullpups made another first down and were on the CV 26 when O’Connell was drilled on a third-down pass, sending the ball right to linebacker Garrett Graham, who returned his interception 77 yards untouched for a 7-0 lead.
Prep responded with an 80-yard drive, 55 yards coming on one O’Connell keeper and the last 25 on a run by Tony Valentine.
The teams traded punts but another fumble gave Prep the ball on the CV 21. Two runs by O’Connell broke the tie. CV punted again and the Bulllpups went 35 yards in six plays to lead 21-7 with 7:42 left in the half.
After the teams again traded three-and-out series, Prep had 29 plays that included 176 rushing yards while the Bears had not gained positive yardage on 12 snaps, sitting at minus-21.
“We just used our quickness and speed,” Prep nose guard Nick Bliss, generously listed at 175 pounds, said. “That’s what you have to do against big teams. Watching films, we knew we were a lot faster than their guys. It was kind of a David and Goliath.”
With Bliss, Gum (215 pounds) and Sean Thacker (190) holding their own up front, linebackers Kevin Cronin, Jeremy Rash, Kyle Gleason and Travis Pasco stuffed everything the Bears had. Clowe, who averaged 163 yards, had 6 yards on 13 carries and the Bears tried only 22 runs.
Central Valley 7 7 0 0 -14
Gonzaga Prep 7 14 0 3 -24
CV-Graham 77 interception return (Papich kick) GP-Valentine 25 run (Pegg kick) GP-O’Connell 18 run (kick failed) GP-O’Connell 5 run (Valentine run) CV-Clowe 2 run (Papich kick) GP-Bettesworth 23 field goal CV GP First downs 10 16 Rushes-yards 22-16 57-305 Passing yards 127 51 Return yards 76 25 Passes 10-27-1 3-6-1 Punts-avg. 5-41.3 5-33.8 Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-1 Penalties-yards 5-49 7-63
RUSHING - Central Valley: Adamson 6-9, Clowe 13-6, Graham 2-2, McFarlane 1—1, Gonzaga Prep: O’Connell 30-204, Valentine 19-75, Ramirez 3-16, Kendall 5-10,
PASSING - Central Valley: Adamson 10-27-1-127, Gonzaga Prep: O’Connell 3-6-1-51,
RECEIVING - Central Valley: Hinckley 4-61, Millar 2-28, Clowe 2-25, Graham 2-13, Gonzaga Prep: Hartnett 1-33, Ramirez 1-14, Kendall 1-4,
Rogers 27, Ferris 21 (OT)
The winning play for the Pirates (3-5, 3-5) looked a lot like the preceding play.
After the blitzing Rogers defense drove the Saxons (2-6, 1-6) back 14 yards on the first four plays of OT, Mike Dorton went up the middle for 2 yards for the Pirates. Dorton made a great fake on what at first looked like an identical play, but Crowley raced down the left sideline and then leaped over the defensive back to win the game.
“We had been setting that up,” Crowley said. “We set it up the play before.” Rogers coach Dave Pomante said, “That’s our style, try to be aggressive offensively and try to be aggressive defensively.”
A muffed punt by Ferris and a long punt return by Dorton helped the Pirates open a 21-7 lead. Late in the first half, Ferris marched for a touchdown, highlighted by the 80th career reception by Jonathan Parker that gave him the league record.
A quick 70-yard drive in the third quarter tied the game.
Nick Bozo rushed for 161 yards and Adam Oakley went 12 for 19 for 152 yards for Ferris. Parker had seven catches for 78 yards.
Dorton had 102 yards rushing and Oglesbee completed 15 of 19 for 123 yards for the Pirates, who finished their season. Dorton finished fifth in career rushing with 2,378 yards.
Rogers 7 14 0 0 6 - 27
Ferris 7 7 7 0 0 - 21
R-Dorton 1 run (Gregorson kick) F-Bozo 7 run (Slack kick) R-Parratt 3 pass from Ogelsbee (Gregorson kick) R-Dorton 2 run (Gregorson kick) F-Bozo 5 run (Slack kick) F-Bozo 5 run (Slack kick) R-Crowley 23 pass from Ogelsbee R F First downs 15 20 Rushes-yards 38-89 42-134 Passing yards 128 152 Return yards 77 50 Passes 13-20-1 12-19-1 Punts-avg. 4-32 2-35 Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-0 Penalties-yards 5-55 3-25.5
RUSHING - Ferris: Bozo 29-161, Oakley 13-(minus-32). Rogers: Dorton 28-102, Parratt 3-11, Anstrom 4-5, Ogelsbee 3—29.
PASSING - Ferris: Oakley 12-19-1-152. Rogers: Ogelsbee 15-19-1-123, Dorton 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING - Ferris: Parker 7-78, Hamilton 2-48, Bozo 1-14, Mayes 1-8, Dylan 1-4. Rogers: Crowley 2-54, Mace 6-51, Parratt 2-10, Bayne 3-8.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 color)