There’s something about the second quarter for Gonzaga Prep’s football team.
For the second straight week, the Bullpups broke through for four second-quarter touchdowns after being held scoreless in the first period.
The latest victim was Mead in Thursday night’s Greater Spokane League game at Joe Albi Stadium. The Panthers lost 35-7 after falling behind 28-0 in the second quarter.
The victory kept G-Prep (6-1, 5-1) squarely in the GSL title picture. The Panthers (4-3, 4-3) were dealt a serious blow to their playoff chances.
When asked about the penchant for slow starts and then a game’s worth of points in 12 minutes, rookie head coach Dave McKenna was at a loss to explain.
“Our assistant coaches put in a phenomenal game plan,” he said. “Mead’s a very good football team and we played so well tonight.”
There was another stalwart effort from fullback John Lampert, the point man of G-Prep’s option offense. He rumbled for 98 yards, including the game’s first touchdown from 26 yards out, on 19 carries.
In his first year in the backfield, Lampert entered the game as the GSL’s third-leading rusher and now has 555 yards.
“I’d been a lineman my whole life,” he said. “(When asked to take on a new role), I was thinking, ‘No way.’ I’ve never touched the ball before.”
David Stockton continued his excellent play at quarterback, adding 56 yards on the ground, scoring three touchdowns and throwing another.
“David did a great job reading and the line did a great job blocking,” Lampert said.
The Bullpups’ defense time and again beat Panthers running backs to the hole, limiting them to 67 ground yards. Among the many who got in Mead’s way were linebackers Justin Roberts and Dirk Bennett, the latter a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder.
“It’s not about one guy, it’s about 11 guys on defense,” Bennett said of an effort that limited Mead to 65 first-half yards. “We just have to play as a family and no one messes with our family. That’s the motto.”
“We just dominated on the run,” Roberts said. “It starts with our line and all me and the linebackers needed to do was fill it.”
G-Prep opened the game by grinding away 51 yards to Mead’s 26 before bogging down. Then it settled down until Mead was hit with a critical penalty while making a run. A few plays earlier, Mead lost tight end/defensive lineman Aaron Dunn to injury.
Max Kayser hit Ryane Laforte for an apparent 25 yards to the Bullpups’ 13, but the play was negated by offensive pass interference that resulted in a 40-yard swing. The Bullpups got the ball back and on the first two plays of the second quarter, Bishop Sankey sprinted 25 yards before Lampert’s TD burst.
Less than a minute later, G-Prep was in the end zone again following a blocked punt out of bounds at Mead’s 15. Stockton scored from the 14.
Late in the quarter, Derek Hare picked off Kayser and returned it to the Panthers’ 31. On the third play, Stockton hit Sankey for a 36-yard score.
Sankey’s 80-yard punt return set up Stockton’s 1-yard TD with 12 seconds left. The damage was complete.
“I can’t believe the first half of this game,” Roberts said. “Everything went perfect. Defensively, I don’t now how many three and outs we had. It was just an immaculate effort on both sides of the ball.”
Mead mounted one nice third-quarter march that included four Kayser completions for 58 yards and touchdown strike to Laforte. But G-Prep had one more drive in it and scored midway through the final quarter.