With Mead leading 28-14 with a little more than 4 minutes to go before halftime, the Greater Spokane League showdown had all the makings of a runaway.
Central Valley reversed field, though, scoring the game’s final 27 points as the Bears overcame the two-touchdown deficit, 41-28, over the visiting Panthers.
Mead (1-1) appeared to pick up where it left off when it zipped to a 47-0 lead over North Central last week.
After CV’s Ryan Leone returned a kickoff 93 yards to even the score at 14-14 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter, speedy Mead appeared poised to put down the throttle.
In about a 4-minute span, Mead running back Davian Barlow scored back-to-back touchdowns to put the Panthers ahead 28-14 with 4:31 remaining before halftime.
CV (2-0) started to bounce back by finishing the first half with an efficient drive. The Bears drove 69 yards in six plays, scoring on a 19-yard TD pass from Gaven Deyarmin to Danny Nimri with 41 seconds to go before halftime, pulling the Bears within 28-21.
It was a play that hurt the Panthers often. Deyarmin rolled to his left and had the option of dumping to a running back for a swing play or throwing behind the secondary to a receiver.
For the amount of points scored, it tended to be a sloppy game at times. Deyarmin was intercepted three times and Mead had four turnovers, three by fumble.
“We fumbled the ball – turnovers,” Mead coach Sean Carty said. “You can’t turn the ball over and we didn’t capitalize on theirs. Every time we got one from them we gave it back.”
For a second straight week, the Bears’ defense stiffened in the second half.
Playing especially well for CV were safeties Adam Chamberlain, Eli Wiecking and cornerbacks Ryan Leone and Dustin Dach. They pressed the line of scrimmage hard as the Bears tried to not let the Panthers loose in their new fly offense.
“Did they play a great game?” CV coach Rick Giampietri asked out loud. “With the track meet like it was going in the first half I thought it was going to be 50-40, something like that. I was just glad to see our kids hit like they did in the second half.”
Mead piled up 276 yards total offense in the first half. But the Bears limited the Panthers to 88 in the final two quarters.
“We played a good football team,” Carty said. “This isn’t the end of our ride. If we play them in the playoffs – hopefully we make it that far – it could be a different outcome.”
Deyarmin overcame the three interceptions to finish with 233 yards passing on 17 of 29 attempts. He also rushed for 35 yards.
Running back Grayson Sykes came up big late when starter Alex Jacot had to go to the sideline with cramps. Sykes finished with 78 yards on 10 rushes including a 5-yard TD for CV’s final score with 2:19 remaining.
After CV pulled even at 28-28, Austin Rehkow had field goals of 22 and 36 yards to push the Bears ahead 34-28.
“It was a little bit sloppy but we put the drives together when we had to,” Giampietri said.
Chamberlain said he and the Bears executed the plan defensively.
“Most of it was coming up and keeping outside contain,” Chamberlain said. “Our coaches were getting on our butts all practices. They wanted us to come up, jam them and not let them get outside.”
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