The Ferris-Central Valley football game, a showdown between Greater Spokane League heavyweights, lived up to its billing Friday.
It came down to a matter of patience, and the defending State 4A champion Saxons showed the most patience before a standing-room only crowd at CV.
After taking the lead for good late in the third quarter, No. 1-ranked Ferris turned to its clock-eating double-wing offensive set, pulling away for a 28-10 win in a game that should have had a tighter final margin.
“We stayed real patient and made plays down the stretch,” said Ferris coach Jim Sharkey, whose team won for a 19th straight time dating back to 2009.
Sharkey’s son, Drew, a combination quarterback/fullback/defensive end, agreed.
“Our defense really stepped up and their defense is really good,” he said. “So we really had to be patient and let things happen.”
The eighth-ranked Bears (4-1) were formidable in the first half, especially on defense.
“They had an answer for everything that we had in the first half,” said the Saxons’ Ben Goodwin, a combination quarterback/running back/wide receiver/defensive back.
So when the Bears came out and didn’t get anything going in the second half after taking a 10-7 lead into intermission, CV coach Rick Giampietri was concerned.
Ferris (5-0) took the lead for good at 14-10 late in the third period when running back Kole Heidinger leaped into the end zone from 4 yards out. Giampietri knew what was coming next.
And the Bears didn’t have an answer for the Saxons’ ball-control offense in the fourth quarter.
Ferris got the ball back with 9:25 remaining and proceeded to use its double-wing formation on six straight plays when Heidinger popped out of a midfield scrum and sprinted 53 yards to put the Saxons ahead 21-10.
Then on CV’s next possession, a sack by Damon Unland pinned the Bears at their 2-yard line and they had to punt.
Ferris needed a big play moments later on third-and-8 at midfield, and Sharkey threw a jump ball to the 18 that receiver Cole Lemer pulled down. The game was essentially over then, although the Saxons would tack on a final touchdown.
“We had a couple of three-and-outs to start the second half and the defense played well the first two series,” Giampietri said. “Then they just got it rolling. It’s a shame. It was a lot closer game than the score indicates.”
The Bears limited the Saxons to 74 yards total offense in the first half.
Ferris, which punted a season-high six times, looked more like the team picked to win the GSL in the final 19 minutes.
“We just didn’t have field position (first half) and they made some good plays,” Jim Sharkey said. “We had to make some adjustments. There was no panic in our locker room at all. The kids knew it was a great game at half. We expected it and we expect it the next four (games).”
Drew Sharkey knew the fourth quarter would belong to the Saxons.
“It’s (the double wing) a great formation when you get the right guys,” he said. “If they press it hard you can pop one, and you can grind them until they’re dead.”
“It wears on a team, but I think a lot of it has to do with our conditioning and just the way we play football,” Goodwin said.
Mead 31, Shadle Park 7: The Highlanders (0-5) scored the game’s first touchdown, but it was all Panthers (4-1) thereafter in the opener at Joe Albi Stadium.
Levi McBournie threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Drew Before for Shadle. But the Highlanders couldn’t stop the rush-happy Panthers.
Davian Barlow had 10 carries for 100 yards, all in the first half, including TD runs of 60 and 5 yards. Teammate Evan Maack had 13 attempts for 136 yards, including an 80-yard TD.
Aaron Anderson led Shadle with 112 yards on 16 rushes.
Lewis and Clark 28, North Central 16: The Tigers’ defense clamped down, and coupled with their balanced offense, the Indians didn’t have an answer in the late game at Albi.
Running back Ammar Johnson rushed for 134 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown while quarterback Jeff Livingston completed 9 of 17 passes for 237 to lead LC (4-1).
QB Jake Hoffman led NC (2-3). He had 82 yards rushing to go with 199 passing (18 of 24).