Anyone who has ever been in a stare-down knows: The first one to blink loses.
It was the same way with Friday night’s Great Northern League showdown between West Valley and Pullman.
The Greyhounds blinked; the Eagles didn’t and earned a 54-27 victory.
Both teams came out with a head of steam and a burning need to score points. Both did just that on their first three possessions.
Pullman received the opening kick and marched in for a touchdown. West Valley answered.
Both teams missed a point-after attempt and early in the second quarter it was 20-20.
But on its fourth possession, Pullman came out firing blanks. Quarterback Konner Kinkade missed his receiver on first down, was incomplete on third-and-9 and, on fourth down, threw to a well-defended receiver to turn the ball over on downs.
“We knew they were going to get their points,” West Valley coach Craig Whitney said. “They’ve scored a ton of points on every team they’ve played. We just figured that, if we could get a couple stops, it would make all the difference.”
It did exactly that.
The Eagles took over and spun their wheels at first. On fourth-and-8 from the Pullman 36, quarterback Matt Allen took the snap and rolled right, saw open field and sprinted for 12 yards and the first down.
Kobin Carver punched in from the 1. After a blocked extra point, WV led 26-20.
“That was huge,” Allen said. “Getting that stop was a big lift for us. That was huge. And being able to go right back in and score was a huge momentum shift.”
The Eagles (6-1, 2-0) kept the momentum going.
Marshall Meleney picked off a Kinkade pass to stop the next Pullman drive and WV marched right back to the end zone and took a 33-20 lead at intermission.
WV took the second-half kick and went on a 12-play march to double up the Greyhounds 40-20.
WV’s offense was stopped twice all game. The Eagles fumbled a center snap late in the fourth quarter and Pullman recovered.
WV also chose to take a knee at midfield in the final minute of the game.
“We didn’t punt the whole game,” Allen said. “That’s what you want to do, especially in a league game like this.”
WV rolled to more than 440 yards rushing in the game. Carver rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
Meleney, a punishing runner with a wicked stiff-arm, also had three rushing touchdowns. Allen had a pair of 1-yard TD runs.
“I have to give a ton of credit to our guys up front,” Whitney said. “They don’t get a whole lot of credit, but they did the hard work up front.”
The Eagles face Cheney on the road before closing out the regular season at home against East Valley.
Pullman (5-2, 2-1) has a nonleague game with Othello next week and closes out the regular season at Cheney.
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