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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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20,000 Leagues in Spokane, or so it seems

As the Greater Spokane League begins its 39th season of football competition, it might be interesting to look back at how the teams that make up the league evolved into their present alignment.

A century ago, high school football was already being played, but without league affiliations. Gonzaga High School (now Gonzaga Prep) Hillyard (now Rogers), Lewis & Clark and North Central had been competing against one another on the gridiron since the 1920s. NC and LC were meeting a decade or so before that.

In 1925, the four schools formed the Spokane City League, which lasted until 1975. In later years, Shadle Park and Ferris joined the league.

Central Valley and West Valley had a short stint in the City League for football in 1959-60, but weren’t yet competitive at that level, and soon left. Shortly thereafter, they became charter members of the Border League, and were joined by other schools including Mead and University.

CV and Mead, two of the older schools in the current GSL, have changed leagues throughout the years as their enrollments grew from small rural schools to two of the largest in the area. At first they competed in the Spokane County League, along with Cheney, Deer Park, Medical Lake and West Valley. Other schools, who have since gone on to consolidations, also competed in the league in those early days, including Fairfield, Latah, Rockford, Spangle and Valleyford.

CV and West Valley also competed in the Inland Empire League for a number of years in the 1940s and 50s. Back then, the IEL featured schools from both sides of the Idaho-Washington border from Sandpoint and Coeur d’ Alene to Clarkston and Walla Walla.  As Mead grew, it spent time in the Tri-County League with Cheney, Deer Park, and Davenport, among others, before moving on to the Northeast A League, and eventually the Border League.

In 1976, Ferris, Gonzaga Prep, Lewis & Clark, North Central, Rogers and Shadle Park of the City League, joined with Central Valley, Mead and University of the Border, to create the Greater Spokane League. Mt. Spokane, the new kid on the block, joined in 1999. It remains one of the premiere high school leagues in the state of Washington as its fourth decade approaches.

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

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