The difference in the Greater Spokane League football showdown last Thursday between Gonzaga Prep and Mead was simple to identify.
One team played well (Gonzaga Prep, 5-0) and one team didn’t (Mead, 4-1).
Mead had five turnovers and a punt blocked that was returned for a touchdown.
“You can’t make that many mistakes against a good team like Gonzaga Prep,” Mead coach Sean Carty said.
Gonzaga Prep coach Dave McKenna is well aware what turnovers can do to a team.
“We’ve done it ourselves,” McKenna said. “Our defense tries to create them as much as possible.”
G-Prep vaulted from eighth to fourth in this week’s Associated Press 4A rankings while Mead dropped from second to seventh.
Mead and Gonzaga Prep each lost their leading rusher in the first half.
Bullpups senior quarterback Zach Bonneau was knocked silly when Mead linebacker Danny Mattingly landed inadvertently on Bonneau’s exposed head. Bonneau had lost his helmet while being tackled.
Bonneau is expected to sit out this week. His status beyond this week is up in the air.
Mead senior running back Davian Barlow suffered a high ankle sprain for a second straight year.
Barlow, who attended the GSL doubleheader last Friday, said he could be out at least two weeks.
The replacements for Bonneau and Barlow did respectable jobs.
Sophomore Nick Wood stepped in for Bonneau. On his first play, Wood threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Max Gruber that caught Mead squeezing to the middle and not thinking pass. Wood finished with 66 yards rushing on 11 carries.
“We believe in him and his teammates believed in him,” McKenna said. “The seniors rallied around him”
Junior Luke Hilmes replaced Barlow. Hilmes rushed for a career-high 108 yards on 13 carries.
Could there be an upset or two in the second half of the GSL season?
Before talk begins about a possible rematch between Gonzaga Prep and Mead – and that very well could happen – here’s a look at what is coming up on their schedules.
G-Prep is at home Friday against North Central (1-4) before finishing with winless Rogers (0-5), Mt. Spokane (1-4) and much-improved Central Valley (4-1).
Mead takes on Shadle Park (2-3) on Friday before finishing with CV, Rogers and seventh-ranked Ferris (4-1).
CV’s final four games are: University (2-3), Mead, Shadle Park and G-Prep.
Ferris’ final four games are: Mt. Spokane (1-4), Lewis and Clark (2-3), U-Hi and Mead.
In 3A, U-Hi holds the head-to-head advantage over Shadle after beating the Highlanders 48-35.
U-Hi finishes with CV, Mt. Spokane, Ferris and NC. Shadle concludes with Mead, NC, CV and LC.
The 3A matchups in two weeks – U-Hi/Mt. Spokane and Shadle/NC – could go far in determining the play-in qualifiers.