I wasn’t covering the Greater Spokane League back in the 1980s, but what a time it was for Gonzaga Prep football.
It’s the greatest stretch of dominance the league has seen.
It got me to thinking. Could a span like that happen again?
A lot of things factor into it, obviously. Gonzaga Prep had a great cycle of athletes, not to mention a system that couldn’t be defended. Former coach Don Anderson’s influence remains today at G-Prep.
The most recent stretch of success can be found on the upper South Hill. For a school to reach the semifinals for four straight years and play in back-to-back state championship games, in this era, is phenomenal.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ferris make it to the semifinals a fifth straight year. But a lot of things will have to fall the Saxons’ way. For one, unless the passing game develops, Ferris is awfully one-dimensional. It’s a very effective dimension. 3A powerhouse Bellevue has made a living being one-dimensional.
What makes the Saxons’ running game especially effective is they have three capable ballcarriers in Kole Heidinger, Ben Goodwin and Drew Sharkey, and a fourth is developing with Kurtis Karstetter.
The Saxons could slip into the GSL pack next year. The recent cycle of athletes isn’t going to dry up, but Ferris won’t have the wealth of talent, or depth, next year.
So curiosity got the best of me and with assistance from a colleague I found some records of teams dating back to the early 1900s. Our late colleague, Merle Derrick, was one of the finest record keepers.
The Saxons’ winning streak isn’t without company. During the Bullpups’ reign of dominance in the ’80s, G-Prep teams won 27 straight league games overall and had an 18-game streak. Those were snapped Oct. 30, 1987, when Lewis and Clark upset the Bullpups 22-10.
The oldest winning streak I found goes back to the late ’20s. North Central owned that streak, which started in 1927 and ended at 19 in 1929.
Shortly thereafter, G-Prep, known, of course, as simply Gonzaga back then, won 20 in a row from 1930-32.
And Ferris had a streak similar to the one its on now. From 1970-72, the Saxons won 16 straight.
I’ll have more on this later, but the early indications I’m receiving regarding reclassification in Washington for next year is Medical Lake and Pullman will drop to 1A.
That would mean the Great Northern League will go from seven to five teams. The league found it was subservient to the Central Washington Athletic Conference last year when it came to state berth allocations, and it could lose more ground beginning next year.
That got Cheney and East Valley, the two biggest schools in the GNL, to thinking that it might be in their best interests to petition up to 3A and rejoin the Greater Spokane League. After consideration, though, Cheney informed the GSL last week that it intends to stay in the GNL. That means EV will likely stay as well.
Cheney will likely have to move up to the GSL by the next reclassification. The Cheney district is in the midst of building two new middle schools. The district has had considerable growth at the lower levels and it’s likely to reach the high school the next go around.
Washington’s reclassification impacts Idaho. Coeur d’Alene, Lake City and Post Falls would love to schedule football games with the GSL.
I’ll have more on this later.
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