The multidimensional Ferris Saxons were too much for single-dimensional Gonzaga Prep.
Nine different Saxons caught passes as Ferris pulled away 37-13 in the Greater Spokane League football game Friday at G-Prep.
By contrast, Bullpups quarterback David Stockton caught the first pass for positive yards after a Ferris lineman batted the ball.
Still, the Saxons, who were plagued by mistakes in the first half, didn’t put G-Prep away until the fourth quarter.
It’s no coincidence that the Saxons put space between themselves and the Bullpups when top receiver Aaron Roberts caught touchdowns passes of 1 and 49 yards in the fourth quarter.
“I really couldn’t tell if they were bracketing me or what,” said Roberts, who was relatively quiet until the final period. “I just couldn’t find a way to get open. In the second half I just found a way to get the ball.”
The beauty for the Saxons is they don’t have to depend on one player or one style.
“The strength of our team is we have a lot of options,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “We’re pretty good in space. We just have to get those kids the ball.”
G-Prep took advantage of a Ferris fumble on an attempted fair catch early in the first quarter. The turnover gave the Bullpups the ball at the Saxons’ 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Bishop Sankey scored from 3 yards out.
G-Prep didn’t score again until backup quarterback Shane Schmidlkofer sprinted 62 yards for the game’s final score with 1:37 remaining.
Ferris moved the ball at will in the first half but only had a 16-6 lead at halftime. Twice the Bullpups picked off junior quarterback Connor Halliday – both times inside the red zone. One was Halliday’s mistake, the other bounced off a receiver’s hands.
“We made too many mistakes early,” Sharkey said. “We were very fortunate (at halftime) that we had a two-score lead.”
Complementing an offense that eventually quit beating itself was a defense that controlled play in the trenches.
G-Prep had 180 yards rushing, but 62 of that came on its final TD.
“Our (defensive) line just stepped up,” Roberts said. “They practiced hard this week. This victory is for them.”
Roberts took a moment to name each of the linemen – Elliot Bosch, Ben Kutine, Kjelby Oiland and J.D. Robinson.
“The way they played really helped the linebackers and safeties,” Roberts said.
They caught Sharkey’s attention, too.
“We told our defensive line before the game they were the key,” Sharkey said. “We were pretty undisciplined at different points of the game, but having a strong performance out of the defensive line really covers up some mistakes.”
Halliday completed 18 of 27 passes for 266 yards and three TDs. Garrett Saiki led with six receptions for 90 yards and a TD and Roberts finished four catches for 92 yards.
“We knew we had to win this one to compete in the GSL,” Roberts said.