COLVILLE, Wash. – Mike Thomas puts a lot of stock in his offensive linemen, but maybe not their dreams.
Still, the Pullman running back had to figure there was something to it when he rambled 40 yards the first time he touched the ball Thursday night – a doozy of a first step that spurred the fourth-ranked Greyhounds to a 35-14 romp over Colville for the Great Northern League football championship.
“Supposedly – supposedly – one of our linemen had a dream and he called it,” said Thomas. “He said ‘15 wedge’ and that we were either going to get a score or major yardage on it. That’s what we went with and that’s what happened.”
The score would come four plays later on a 5-yard run by Thomas, but that opening burst up the middle set the tone for a mesmerizing start – the Greyhounds (6-0, 8-1 overall) building a 21-0 lead barely 6 minutes into the game.
Which is more than Pullman coach Bob Wollan could have asked for to take the pressure off a sophomore quarterback making his first start in the heat of a championship game.
With junior Jeff Jones sidelined by a sprained knee suffered in last weekend’s rout of Chewelah, the Hounds were in the hands of J.T. Levenseller – cool hands, as it turned it. The first two Pullman possessions, all he had to do was hand off to Thomas, J.C. Sherritt and Justin Erwin, who combined for 139 yards on just nine carries.
But when the Hounds got the ball back a third time, Levenseller found Brian Pan all alone behind the Colville secondary after a play-action fake, and the two hooked up on a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Three touchdowns in the hole, the 10th-ranked Indians (4-2, 7-3) bounced right back with quick 70-yard drive of their own, finished off by a 38-yard pass play from quarterback Tyler Emmil to receiver Dan Bell. And the rest of the half was played on mostly even terms, as Colville made some adjustments to slow the Pullman running game somewhat.
And it looked as if there might be some actual title game drama when Colville’s David Palumbo intercepted a Levenseller pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown just 25 seconds before halftime – only to see it brought back when the officials detected a clip.
“Twenty-one to 7 didn’t feel all that comfortable,” Wollan said.
He felt better when Colville punter Chris Snyder couldn’t corral a fourth-down snap late in the third quarter and set the Greyhounds up on the Indians’ 22, Ervin capping a five-play drive with a 1-yard plunge that made it 28-7. A 5-minute drive bridging the third and fourth-quarters put it away, with Thomas scoring his third touchdown of the night and gaining the last of his 137 yards rushing.
The Greyhounds will host either Cascade (Leavenworth) or No. 8 Connell in the first round of the State 2A playoffs next week, while Colville is on the road to face the winner of a game between top-ranked East Valley-Yakima and Quincy. Those games will take place today.
In other GNL regular season-ending games, Aaron Rutt’s 2-yard TD run with 2:47 left gave Deer Park (3-6, 2-4) a 19-16 win over visiting Lakeside (5-4, 2-4).… Adam Anderson rushed for 103 yards and three TDs on nine carries to lift Riverside (6-3, 3-3) to a 28-14 win over visiting Medical Lake (2-8, 1-5). Riverside’s Daren Lafeyette ran for 96 yards and one score on 16 carries.
Northeast A League
Miles Melendez rushed for 171 yards and TDs of 44 and 36 yards on 15 carries as Newport (4-5, 3-3) qualified for postseason with a 32-0 win over visiting Kettle Falls (1-9, 1-5). The Grizzlies, the league’s No. 2 seed, will play a State 1A play-in game on Tuesday against Columbia (Burbank), a 43-37 winner over Highland. … Second-ranked Freeman (9-0, 6-0) held tough in the final minute to hold off host Colfax 20-13. Colfax (3-6, 2-4) had a first-and-goal at the Freeman 5-yard line in the final minute but couldn’t score. Freeman will play a state opener next weekend.