Dogged effort

Gonzaga Prep hands CV first GSL loss

The stakes were high Friday night for the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups and the Central Valley Bears.

For the Bullpups, the football game was a must-win in terms of staying in the playoff picture. For the Bears, the game was an opportunity to remain unbeaten in league play and lock up the top seed when the postseason rolls around.

In the end, the Bullpups kept their playoff hopes alive after running away with a gritty 29-13 Greater Spokane League victory, spoiling host Central Valley’s homecoming fun and handing the Bears their first GSL loss.

“If you don’t win you don’t deserve to be (in the playoffs), so I always think of games as a must-win,” G-Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “They’re a very good football team – it’s a huge confidence boost for us.”

The Bullpups’ offense got a huge boost from junior running back Bishop Sankey, who rushed for 198 yards on 32 carries and also put the final nail in the Bears’ coffin with a 25-yard touchdown run to give G-Prep a 29-13 lead with just less than 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

“We had to make a lot of adjustments in the beginning because the field was so muddy,” Sankey said. “Once we got used to that I was able to focus more on finding holes in their defense. I’m just thankful we pulled out the win – it’s huge for us.”

The Bears looked strong in the first quarter, taking a 10-0 lead.

After G-Prep turned the ball over on downs in the opening drive, CV’s Jake Miller capped a seven-play drive with a 46-yard field goal to put the Bears on the board first.

The Bears got the ball back after recovering a fumble by the Bullpups, and eventually capitalized as senior Taylor Evans ran in for a 30-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 23 seconds remaining in the first.

After that, it was all G-Prep – which scored three times in the second quarter to take a 20-10 lead.

Quarterback Shane Schmidlkofer reached the end zone twice – each time a 2-yard keeper – and in between his pair of touchdowns Nick Lenoue carried in a 9-yard TD.

In fact, carrying was all the Bullpups had to do to run away with the victory.

Schmidlkofer only passed the ball three times – completing two for 43 yards.

“I’m stubborn – my coaches would attest to that,” McKenna said. “We will try to run it – that’s who we are and we believe in the guys we have up front blocking. I give credit to the whole offense, and the defense tonight. … I preach to these kids that it’s about the team, and tonight every single one of those kids dug in and were a part of this victory.”

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