That was more like it.
The Gonzaga Prep football team resembled the team picked to capture the Greater Spokane League championship Friday.
Behind four touchdowns and 299 yards rushing from senior Bishop Sankey, the Bullpups methodically pulled away from the visiting University Titans 28-7.
Sankey, who cracked the 200-yard mark for the third time in as many games, started things off with a bang – er, more like a rocket. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back, who is taking snaps 4 yards deep in a Wildcat formation with senior quarterback Shane Schmidlkofer recovering from a separated shoulder, got outside left end and zipped up the sideline 68 yards in front of the Bullpups’ bench untouched.
It would be easy to say it was all downhill from there for the Bullpups (2-1) – although many times it looked as if Sankey was running downhill with no obstructions. But U-Hi (1-2) came back to make a game of it in the third quarter, pulling within 14-7 when quarterback Jeff Moe snuck into the end zone from a yard out with 1:43 remaining in the period.
U-Hi had taken advantage of a Sankey fumble.
Moments later, G-Prep answered after an interception gave the Bullpups possession at the U-Hi 32-yard line.
Five Sankey rushes later – he had 31 – he scored from 11 yards out to put G-Prep comfortably ahead 21-7 with 8:24 remaining.
Then Sankey did what he’s done so often and will likely do many more times this season. On the second play of G-Prep’s next series, he shot up the gut 47 yards untouched for the final TD with 7:42 to go.
G-Prep made a big tweak to its blocking for Sankey this week after the Bullpups fell 33-19 to Mt. Spokane. They took 6-5, 260-pound senior and Stanford-bound Charlie Hopkins from left guard and put him at fullback. The human blocking sled was part of an effort that opened some big holes.
“Yes, that was very helpful,” Sankey said. “We made some adjustments this week. We worked hard at practice and improved on the mistakes we made last week. We didn’t play to our potential last week. That wasn’t a good reflection on us as a team. We’re way better than that.”
McKenna said it’s obvious why Hopkins was in the backfield.
“He’s a great athlete and he’s strong, physical and a leader,” McKenna said. “We need a guy out there that’s leading. Bishop’s mind is carrying the football. We needed to get a leader out there and Charlie’s that guy. It’s a nice little addition. He’s 260 pounds and he can run.”
G-Prep’s defense made big strides, too. Mt. Spokane churned out 507 total offense last week.
“There was some improvement,” McKenna said. “We’ve got to tackle better. There was certainly improvement over last week. We challenged the kids. We know what they can do. They played the way they’re capable of playing tonight. But there’s lots of room for improvement.”
Schmidlkofer, who suffered his injury early in the first game, could be back in two weeks. G-Prep has a big showdown at Central Valley on Oct. 8.
Sankey believes G-Prep can get better.
“We’re just going to keep working on the little things,” he said.
“We’re still missing some guys, but they’ve worked extremely hard in the face of adversity,” McKenna said. “At school we’ve talked about faith and that they’ve got to have faith. That’s what makes this place special.”
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