Gonzaga Prep stood poised, leading 20-14 and deep inside the red zone, to land the final blow in a typical Bullpups-Lewis and Clark matchup of historical football heavyweights.
But once more fate intervened to break another Greater Spokane League team’s heart.
The Tigers recovered a fumble inside the 10-yard-line and marched 91 yards in just less than 5 minutes to snatch a 21-20 victory Friday night at G-Prep that again altered the look of this Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not season.
Bishop Sankey, who on the previous play following a G-Prep interception by Nick Lenoue, had burst 35 yards to LC’s 12-yard-line, coughed up the football with 5:17 remaining.
The Tigers supplemented their power running game with three clutch pass completions by sophomore Jeff Livingston, one a 30-yarder to senior Austin Ehlo, that put them in business at the 5-yard-line. Four plays later, with just 25.6 seconds remaining, Ehlo snagged a slant and Taylor Dunlap kicked the winning extra point.
“I’m just happy the extra point went tonight,” first-year coach Dave Hughes said. “If we’d have made them (in other games), we probably would have been in the playoffs.”
A lot of coaches this year could have muttered similar “what-ifs,” including the Bullpups, so crazy was the league and so even the teams this season. G-Prep missed an extra point on its go-ahead touchdown early in the quarter that haunted the Bullpups.
“We need to finish,” said G-Prep coach Dave McKenna. “We need to hang onto the football.”
The Tigers (5-4, 4-4 GSL) did not make the playoffs, but, as running back Levi Taylor exhorted his jubilant teammates in a postgame huddle, they damaged the seasons of both Ferris (6-3, 5-3) and the Bullpups (6-3, 5-3) with back-to-back victories, forcing the pair into a three-way playoff with University (5-4, 5-4) Tuesday for the third and final postseason playoff berth and a chance at state.
The Bullpups rode Jack Wilson to leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 20-14. The speedy back carried eight times for 82 yards getting outside of containment and scoring twice.
Wilson scored his first following an inauspicious start in which LC fumbled away the opening kickoff and there were three penalties, two on the Bullpups, in the first minute. First he had an 11-yard gain on third-and-10 to set up the 8-yard TD.
G-Prep returned the favor in the second quarter, fumbling at its 15, where in two plays Taylor tied it. Back came the Bullpups, regaining the lead on QB Shane Schmidlkofer’s untouched 27-yard scamper.
But once more LC’s Ehlo came up big on a simultaneous-catch call and Taylor scored again to tie 15 seconds before intermission.
Wilson had runs of 8 and 26 yards to set up his second TD.
But after Sankey’s fumble the Tigers ran off 14 plays and most of the clock. Ehlo capped his night with a game-ending interception.