Gonzaga Prep showed it has another option on offense Thursday night during a 19-9 football win over East Valley High at Albi Stadium before 2,410.
Ferris showed its spread offense can still deliver the big play in the Saxons’ 36-13 defeat of University.
The first game of the Greater Spokane League-opening doubleheader was highlighted by the three second-half touchdown passes of G-Prep’s Billy Karwacki, a senior making his second start.
Karwacki, who completed less than half his passes in the Pups’ non-league win over Bellarmine Prep last week, was nearly perfect this week, especially in the second half.
Trailing 3-0 at halftime – EV’s Ryan Orwick hit a 38-yard field goal as time expired – Karwacki showed his arm on G-Prep’s first possession.
After Connor Hare’s 45-yard kickoff return gave Prep the ball in Knights territory, Karwacki found Brandon Kennedy behind the EV defense for a 33-yard TD less than a minute later. It was their second long scoring hookup in two weeks.
“With Brandon, I just try to put it where he can use his athletic ability to make the play,” said Karwacki, who finished 7 of 11 for 145 yards, including 5 of 6 for 91 yards after halftime.
The next two scoring tosses went to senior Brad Parker, the first for 16 yards, the second for 11. It was the latter throw that was most impressive as Karwacki, with good protection, waited patiently for Parker to come free in the back of the end zone.
“It’s not your usual Prep tradition to throw the ball all that much,” Karwacki said. “I love to throw it and we’ve put in some new plays, some new looks, in the passing game.”
“Billy has a great arm, so we have to use it,” Prep coach Dave Carson said. “If people start to respect the passing game, then you throw in the option too, it could cause some problems.”
The Prep defense caused some problems for EV’s running game, especially in the second half. The Knights, 0-2 overall, rushed for 106 yards in the first half, using nine ballcarriers. In the second half, EV mustered 14 yards, four of those coming on Jordan Jolley’s TD run with 3:35 left.
Ferris 36, University 13
Junior quarterback Caleb Rath has a year’s experience running the Saxons’ spread attack and it showed.
Rath passed for 190 yards (on 10 of 15) including two TDs, and ran for 113 yards on 26 carries, including two other scores.
Many of those yards came on big plays, such as a 22-yard, second-quarter scoring toss to Robert Davis on a fourth-and-22.
Then there was the 33-yard hookup with Davis near the end of the quarter, the culmination of an 86-yard drive featuring three plays of more than 25 yards. The scoring pass was into double coverage and was tipped by a U-Hi defender before Davis snatched it out of the air. Davis finished with five catches for 127 yards.
“The second year through I feel a lot more comfortable,” Rath said of running the Saxons’ shotgun attack. “We also have a lot of receivers coming back and the chemistry between us is much better.”
U-Hi (0-1 in the GSL, 0-2 overall) put up its points on disparate drives, one big-play drive, the other a short-pass-fueled 53-yard drive. Blake Kenworthy scored both TDs on runs of 4 and 7 yards.
But the Titans’ rushing attack sputtered most of the night, accounting for 38 yards on 26 attempts.
Senior quarterback J.D. Peterson accounted for most of U-Hi’s offense, passing for 176 yards on 15 of 32.