The new six-team 4A, five-team 3A Greater Spokane League alignment will play into what figures to be a wide-open league with an eight-game schedule in an 11-team league. The 3A teams play each other a
Anthony Luna, OL, Gonzaga Prep; Brandon Rose, OL, Mead; Jake Partridge, WR, Rogers; Ryan LaForte, WR, Mead; Chris Mastin, DL, LC; Elliott Bosch, DL, Ferris; Brad Whitley, DB, CV; Chad Loncosty, P, Mead.
Two players to watch are Lewis and Clark’s third-year starting quarterback Taylor Eglet, who threw for 936 yards then passed the Tigers to the state title, and Central Valley’s Taylor Price, one of the top returning ball carriers who rushed for 559 yards out of a three-back lineup. Also back is CV QB Blake Bledsoe (975 yards and eight touchdowns) and Rogers rusher and second-team All-GSL Cody Peterson, who gained 575 yards and was third in league scoring last year. Mt. Spokane’s Connor Haley who had more than 1,000 yards of total offense, moves from quarterback to receiver. Partridge, who led the league with 41 catches for 608 yards for the Pirates, shifts from receiver to quarterback. Mead’s LaForte had 39 catches for 550 yards and second-team All-GSL teammate Matt Lynch added 29 catches for 470 yards and seven TDs. Also back is multipurpose EV receiver/back/linebacker Dakota Lawson, seventh among pass catchers last year.
Case for the defense
If defense wins championships, LC remains in good shape with four starters back including WSU-bound Mastin and second-team All-GSL Charles Taylor, who were integral to last year’s state title. Expect Ferris to be hard to move against with its sizeable line, led by Bosch and an assortment of veterans, including second-team All-GSL defensive back Andrew Weigand and linebacker Nate Tonani. Gonzaga Prep should be equally stingy with its experience, including Division I prospect Travis Long. CV returns its secondary nearly intact, including Whitley.
How the 4A heavyweights fare against each other will determine which two go on to postseason. There easily could be multiple 6-2 finishes like last year’s three-way tie for second behind Ferris. The question in 3A is: Are the teams as improved as the coaches say they are? Not only do EV and Mt. Spokane have high hopes, but Rogers has the most experienced lineup and Shadle coach Mark Hester said his team is better than last year. “The upside is our No. 1 team has a really good pass in the playoffs,” said EV coach Adam Fisher. “It plays at home the entire way.” Fisher added that unlike last year, when everyone knew Ferris was favored, this year will be more wide open. “I don’t see a lot of mismatches,” he said. “I think there are a lot more ‘haves’ to be honest. From a fan’s point of view there will be a lot of good games to watch.” A lot of them will come on the same night.
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