There’s no denying that speed in football is difficult to defend.
Ferris’ speedy junior Jalen Hicks accentuated that Friday, especially in the second half.
Hicks finished with four touchdowns, three coming on the ground, as the visiting Saxons pulled away convincingly to a 42-14 victory over the Central Valley Bears in a Greater Spokane League opener before a sizeable and electric crowd at CV.
CV outgained the Saxons by 100 yards in the first half. But things turned around quickly in the second half.
Doing most of that turning was the 5-foot-8, 155-pound Hicks.
“That was everything,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “The speed element (was) all over the place. (Quarterback) Christian (Olson) did a nice job reading it (option), they gave him some stuff and we took advantage. And (Hicks) is an explosive playmaker.”
Both teams made some mistakes in the first half – common in season openers. But in the final two quarters, the Saxons’ speed and the fact the Bears wore down were the deciding differences.
“We were disgusted with our physical and mental errors,” Sharkey said. “Both teams made a lot. Boy did we flip a switch at halftime and really played clean ball.”
CV started seven players on both sides of the ball, and the Bears’ lack of depth caught up with them.
Still, even if the Bears had been fresher, they probably couldn’t have stopped Hicks.
Hicks had six receptions for 159 yards, including a 65-yard catch from Olson, and he rushed for 126 yards on eight carries in the second half, including scoring runs of 17, 13 and 66 yards.
The Saxons’ defense – led by safety Cole Karstetter, cornerback Isaiah Troutt and defensive end Griffin Davis – took control after halftime.
The game pitted the two teams picked to finish 1-2. And for most of the game it lived up as advertised.
But Hicks took over and the Bears didn’t have an answer.
“We can talk about Jalen all night but we were really good up front,” Sharkey said. “Our kids dominated the line of scrimmage, which was the big question going in.”
Sharkey said Hicks prepared well for the season opener in preseason practices.
“Our team stepped up in the second half,” Hicks said. “Our offense stepped up and then our defense stepped up and the game just started rolling for us.”
CV never led but twice tied the score, including with 20 seconds left in the second quarter when quarterback Adam Chamberlain scored from 4 yards out to make it 14-14 going into halftime.
After Ferris opened a 28-14 lead, CV had to go to the air. Chamberlain finished 23 of 40 for 218 yards with two interceptions.