Contain Colten Williams and you control Mt. Spokane. That was Ferris’ defensive strategy and a big reason, particularly in the first half, that the Saxons prevailed 31-14 Thursday evening in Greater Spokane League football.
Williams, the Wildcats’ pass-catching and rushing threat, had some receptions for a handful of yards in the initial two quarters. But the Ferris defensive horde took away the run, limiting him to a yard-per-carry average.
The Saxons (3-1 GSL) built a 17-0 lead at Albi Stadium in the beginning of the second quarter. That was the difference in the game.
“You’ve got to get people to him,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “I thought our kids focused well and played with energy.”
Mt. Spokane (3-1, 2-1) didn’t help itself with three debilitating second-quarter penalties. The first, following an interception at midfield, pushed the team back 15 yards to start the drive. Two others, on what would have been a 27-yard catch and run by Williams, negated a huge gain and subsequently cost the Wildcats 54 yards of field possession.
Ferris, meanwhile, moved efficiently, scoring on its first three series to build the lead.
The Saxons had the better passing game. Connor Halliday completed eight passes for 157 first-quarter yards.
The Saxons opened the game with a field goal. Then, receiver Jason Bates used his 6-foot-4 height advantage to go up high over Evan Poyner and wrest the ball away on a 45-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Gage Orosco capped an eight-play, 81-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown on the first play of the third quarter. It was set up by Halliday’s 39-yard pass to Jordan Tonani.
The Wildcats had only 73 yards of offense in the half.
“I was surprised and disappointed in the way we played,” Mt. Spokane coach Mike McLaughlin said. “They schooled us on both sides of the line and I take full responsibility for it. We’ll come back and have our day.”
Orosco was a major part of Ferris’ second-half offensive focus. He finished with 176 yards rushing on 15 carries, including 138 yards in the second half.
Included was a 28-yarder to kick off a scoring march that made the score 24-0 in the third quarter. And he prevented disaster on a bad punt snap, running out of danger and booting the ball soccer style 54 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Orosco had three double-digit carries in succession that made it 31-7.
Sharkey said they emphasized the run during the week, particularly a trap play that sprung the senior back.
“It was a new play and opened up holes big-time,” Orosco said. “We were trying to smash their middle linebackers more.”
Mt. Spokane finally got untracked in the game’s final 22 minutes. Travis Ward threw for 159 of his 197 yards, rushed for a touchdown and passed to Trevor Kissinger who ripped through tacklers for the second score. Williams had seven catches for 97 of his 125 yards in the belated effort.
“No. 4 was the man,” Orosco said of Ferris’ defensive effort on Williams. “We had to key on him more than anyone else and had to gang up on him.”
Central Valley 47, Shadle Park 0: The Highlanders (0-4) electrified a crowd of 3,010 with a 62-yard run by Danny Rowton to open the game, but it was all Bears afterward as they improved to 4-0 and are the GSL’s only unbeaten team.
CV led 27-0 on a Gaven Deyarmin pass to Ryan Nungester just before halftime, capping an impressive short-passing performance for the sophomore starter. He also scored twice. In the second half David Borgman, who had two carries previously this year, scored his second TD of the game on an 84-yard burst.
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