An apparent broken play broke Mead’s heart in the Ferris Saxons’ 28-10 Greater Spokane League football win over the Panthers, Thursday night at Albi Stadium.
The Saxons (2-1) struggled on offense just to lead 7-3 at half and were facing third-and-1 when the Panthers’ defense blew up what appeared to be an option dive play.
Quarterback Connor Halliday had the presence of mind to pull the ball out and pitch to Brendon Olson, who raced untouched 33 yards down the right sideline for the score with 8 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the period.
The game got away from Mead (1-2) thereafter. Olson scored twice more in the quarter following an interception and a short punt.
Drew Sharkey picked off the pass at the Panthers’ 21 with Olson eventually scoring from 5 yards out. He added his third TD after a short, 37-yard drive to put the Saxons up 28-3 with 2:23 remaining in the decisive quarter.
Olson, who didn’t carry the ball until the second half and finished with 58 yards, was also a thorn in Mead’s side on defense with numerous tackles and a deflected pass.
“I’m an outside linebacker who plays running back and you have to react fast,” Olson said. “It feels good to get those touchdowns. After halftime we decided to score points and play well on defense.”
Mead sophomore Mitch Wetzel earned his first start and showed poise with clutch completions on a drive that netted a field goal in the first quarter and later moved the Panthers 50 yards and nearly produced another score.
Wetzel’s roll-outs and look-back tosses netted 66 yards on seven completions, but a sideline pass to Bo Tully for an apparent first down to the Saxons’ 5-yard line was ruled incomplete late in the second period.
“He had a nice game,” Mead coach Sean Carty said. “We needed a couple breaks here and there and maybe we were in it.”
A field-goal attempt just missed and turnabout was fair play for the Saxons, who capitalized on Mead miscues much as they had made them the week before in a loss to Gonzaga Prep.
Ferris’ first-half touchdown came after it recovered a fumble at the Panthers’ 11-yard-line and converted in two plays for a 7-3 lead with 7:38 remaining in the second quarter.
Wetzel made a sophomore mistake, throwing the interception while in the grasp of a blitzing Saxons defender that made it 21-7.
The Saxons had struggled against the blitzing pressure of Mead’s defense for a half, managing just more than 100 yards of first-half offense before breaking out in the third period.
“Turnovers are always huge,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “We took care of the ball and got some offense going. But we’re still kind of searching for our identity right now.”