When you think spread offense, the tendency is to think pass, and Thursday night’s Greater Spokane League football game at Albi Stadium between shotgun teams Mt. Spokane and University certainly had plenty.
But Mt. Spokane’s Wildcats have been remarkably balanced run versus pass this year and it was such balance that produced a quick start and ultimately a 24-14 victory over the Titans.
Mt. Spokane (3-2, 2-2) gained 381 yards, evenly divided between pass and rush. U-Hi threw for 209 yards, much of it on four receptions by Brantly Thornton from Tony Tabish, but managed just 36 net yards rushing against a stout, if banged up, defensive front.
“I thought our defense played well,” Wildcats coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We’re still having the trouble when making a play on a deep ball and not coming down with it.”
Mt. Spokane quarterback Travis Ward has improved his passing numbers each week. Against U-Hi (2-3, 2-3), he completed 16 of 23 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Ward also had a timely scramble that set up Mt. Spokane’s final score.
“We had more trouble with their front than I anticipated, actually, and we had a little trouble running the ball,” McLaughlin said. “But I also thought we could throw the ball and need to continue improving and give our quarterback confidence.”
The Wildcats initially settled for a field goal following a 14-play drive that consumed more than half the first quarter and covered 64 yards. Included were two fourth-down completions by Ward to Colten Williams, who rushed for 67 yards, caught six passes for 78 and scored twice.
Another 3-minute march of 73 yards, capped by Ward’s 30-yard TD strike to Williams, made it 10-0. After a blocked punt, Ward hit Nate Blackham from 14 yards for a 17-0 lead before quarter’s end.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats began another long march from their 20 to the Titans’ 6. But the game quickly swung from a potential 24-0 lead to just a 17-7 edge when Ward was picked off at the 2-yard line.
Tabish found Thornton twice, including a 54-yard touchdown strike that the Titans junior secured sandwiched between two Mt. Spokane defenders.
There was no other scoring until the final 7 minutes, when the teams traded scores.“The kids made plays early, then for whatever reason, relaxed,” McLaughlin said. “But give (U-Hi) credit. They hung in there.”
Gonzaga Prep 35, Rogers 3: The Bullpups (4-1, 3-1) scored twice in the blink of an eye for a 14-3 first-half lead, and ground out three more scores in the third quarter to defeat the turnover-prone Pirates (0-5, 0-4). Travis Long broke a 74-yard scoring run. G-Prep recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as prelude to John Lampert’s 13-yard score. Lampert, who finished with 109 yards rushing, scored two of the third-quarter touchdowns.