Nick Bellomy and his East Valley teammates accomplished what they set out to do Friday night.
The Greater Spokane League’s leading rusher, Bellomy romped for 251 yards and powered the Knights’ 28-21 victory over Mt. Spokane in a crucial showdown between the top two 3A teams in the GSL.
EV (4-3, 4-3 GSL) has the inside track for the league’s top seed among 3A programs when the regional playoffs begin next month. The Knights possess the head-to-head tiebreaker if they share the same league record with Mt. Spokane (3-4, 2-4) at the end of the regular season.
Entering the game with a GSL-best 708 rushing yards in six games, Bellomy couldn’t be contained and had six runs for more than 20 yards. His 45-yard burst through the middle of the Wildcats’ defense gave EV a 28-13 lead with 81/2 minutes left and sealed the game’s outcome.
Mt. Spokane’s Nathan Blackham caught a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes left, but the Wildcats failed to convert on the ensuing onside kick.
Chris Zivic rushed for touchdowns of 1, 2 and 14 yards in the first half to help the Knights seize a 21-7 lead at halftime. The Knights scored on their first three drives, and Bellomy gashed Mt. Spokane’s defense with 170 yards on only eight carries in the opening two quarters.
The Knights also harassed and roughed up Mt. Spokane quarterback Travis Ward, and they limited the Wildcats’ top all-around threat, Colten Williams. East Valley intercepted Ward twice in Knights territory to turn back a pair of threatening drives, and Williams garnered only 39 yards on the ground.
Williams scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to pull Mt. Spokane within 21-13 with just less than 11 minutes left in the game.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, but EV’s errant extra-point attempt allowed Mt. Spokane to hold a 7-6 lead after 12 minutes.
Zivic punched the ball into the end zone on the Knights’ next two drives, however, and East Valley didn’t trail again.
EV quarterback Jackson Romney, stepping in for injured starter Ike Falk, completed 4 of 6 passes for 94 yards. Receiver Dakota Lawson caught three of those passes for 83 yards.