Shadle Park and Lewis and Clark both came out of the first Friday night of Greater Spokane League football play with victories. But that’s all that was the same for the two GSL contenders.
Shadle jumped ahead early and routed Rogers 51-13 behind a stifling defense and a potent offense.
The Tigers, meanwhile, had to hold on to edge Mt. Spokane 18-13, scoring all their points in the first half.
In fact, the LC-Mt. Spokane nightcap was in doubt until a dead ball personal foul by the Wildcats defense. Mt. Spokane was going to get the ball back with almost 2 minutes left before the 15-yard late-hit penalty – only the Wildcats’ second of the night – gave the Tigers a first down. From there, LC ran out the clock to secure its seventh consecutive win over Mt. Spokane.
At first it looked like it would be the Wildcats’ (1-1, 0-1) night. They opened the game with a 75-yard drive but couldn’t convert a short field goal. Then LC started giving the ball to Ethen Robinson.
The junior was the only Tiger who had a rushing attempt in the first half, 16 of them for 133 yards. He finished with 157 yards before leaving with leg cramps, including two second-quarter touchdown runs.
“Ethen’s going to be a fine running back in the GSL,” LC coach Tom Yearout understated, before expressing the same sort of sentiment about first-time starting senior quarterback Chad Bemis.
Bemis did almost exactly what Yearout wants: He was efficient (4 of 9 for 97 yards), explosive (hitting Kevin Luby on a 42-yard wheel pattern prior to LC’s first score) and relatively mistake-free (no interceptions).
But the Tigers did put the ball on the ground, and that helped the Mt. Spokane cause.
So did Jesse Todd’s 40-yard hookup with Mark Purser to open the final quarter. It led to Todd’s 2-yard sneak for Mt. Spokane’s first score. Another long play – a 72-yard run by wingback Mike Jared (he finished with 119 yards on 12 carries) – set up the Wildcats’ last score with 3:28 left. But Mt. Spokane never got the ball back.
Shadle Park 51, Rogers 13
The Highlanders had little trouble, scoring on their first two possessions and shutting down the Pirates while their starting defense was on the field.
Returning GSL offensive player of the year Josh Powell was efficient, completing 8 of 12 passes for 110 yards and a score in a little more than a half. Andy Largent, who was also a first-team selection last season, caught four of those for 50 yards and added 39 more rushing before leaving with leg cramps in the third.
Senior Brian Kranches, making his debut as Shadle’s featured back, carried 10 times for 77 yards and a score.
But the Highlanders’ most impressive unit was the defense, which limited the Pirates (0-2, 0-1) to 23 yards total offense in the first half.
Shadle coach Mark Hester was happy with his team’s effort, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“We played hard all night and we swarmed to the ball well,” he said. “The linebackers played really well and that’s a big plus for us, because they aren’t as experienced as the rest of our defense.”
Rogers’ first TD of the season came early in the fourth quarter when junior Michael Holloman gathered in an errant Shadle pitch and raced 64 yards.