Uncle Mark Rypien is now in his nephew’s rearview mirror.
Sensational sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien leapfrogged past his famous uncle and former Super Bowl MVP to move into the No.3 spot among the Greater Spokane League’s all-time single-season passing leaders, and in so doing the Highlanders moved closer to earning their first play-in berth since 2004.
After spotting North Central a 9-0 lead, Shadle Park came charging back for a 34-9 football win Friday at Joe Albi Stadium.
The win didn’t clinch the play-in berth, but the Highlanders (3-4) appear to be all but locks for the second spot behind probable top seed University.
“Even early in the year when we were 1-3 we were playing some good football at times,” Shadle coach Alan Stanfield said. “Even like tonight, you give a team a 9-0 lead, you kind of wonder where you’re at in the first quarter. Then we settled in and we started playing the way we can play.”
Rypien entered the game needing 118 yards to move past his uncle. He got that and much, much more.
Rypien completed 20 of 36 attempts for 353 yards. He needs 5 yards to take over second from former University quarterback Connor Johnson and another 45 to unseat former Ferris quarterback Connor Halliday atop the list.
“I was talking to him the other night at his (Mark’s) birthday party and it came up a little bit,” Rypien said of the single-season list. “All we were focused on was getting a win tonight. We got one step closer to the playoffs.”
NC got off to a good start.
On the Indians’ second series, they marched 58 yards in eight plays with senior quarterback Jake Hoffman hitting junior receiver Jimmy Weigel on a 34-yard post for a touchdown. The point-after kick was blocked.
Then after holding Shadle on a third straight series, NC capped a 79-yard drive when Heber Martinez’s 37-yard field goal needed all 37 yards to crawl over the crossbar, extending the Indians’ lead to 9-0 with 10:29 to go in the second quarter.
That’s when the Highlanders’ offense took over. Shadle scored 20 points to close out the half.
Senior running back Cameron Babcock scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards and Cam Evans kicked field goals of 20 and 23 yards, the latter going through the uprights as time expired.
NC suffered a big loss with 7:47 to go before intermission when Weigel suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury making a tackle.
The momentum Shadle seized in the first half from NC (1-6) carried over into the final two quarters.
Junior running back Alvin Welch scored TDs on runs of 5 and 10 yards, the final score coming with 1:53 to go in the third.
Rypien probably would have ascended to No. 1 in single-season passing had Welch not dropped a wide-open pass early in the fourth.
“Brett is making the right decisions and he’s even starting to use his feet at times now,” Stanfield said. “He does a good job running the offense. There are a lot of good things ahead for us.”
Stanfield’s parents traveled from Oregon to watch Shadle.
“I’m pretty jazzed right now,” Stanfield said. “My parents came up. They try to come once a year.”
Shadle finishes with Central Valley and Lewis and Clark.
“I think we can step up and get a win over a 4A team before the season’s over,” Rypien said.
Shadle receivers Brett Kiourkas and Skyler Kelley each had six receptions for a combined 250 yards.
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