Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 51° Partly Cloudy


Finally finding true high school champion

High school basketball first had a championship tournament in Washington State in 1923. It took another 50 years before an organized system of playoffs was established for football.

Before then, state champions were mythical, usually based on poll results.

The Spokane area schools first competed in the football playoffs in 1975. That year the Spokane City League saw a three-way tie for first place between Gonzaga Prep, Lewis and Clark and Ferris. They all finished at 6-3. That was the one and only three-team co-championship in the 50-year history of the league. Only one team could advance to postseason play, and LC won the honor by winning a Kansas tie breaker between the schools.

In the Border League, University was the sole champion, ending a decade of domination by Central Valley.

In the first round of playoffs, University lost to an undefeated Richland team, 21-6, while Lewis and Clark defeated Kamiakin, 29-8. That game was also the very first non-league opponent a City League team had faced since 1964.
In the second round, Richland ended the Tiger’s season with a 21-14 win. The Bombers went on to lose the championship game to Foss of Tacoma.
The following year the Greater Spokane League was formed. The GSL has since sent nine teams to the championship game, winning five times.


Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.