P.J. Bowden said Central Valley had attempted the trick play three times in practice.
Three times proved a charm for the Bears, who defeated Mead 30-14 on Friday with the help of a halfback pass that Greater Spokane League rivals didn’t know CV had in its arsenal.
On the sneaky play, CV junior quarterback Tanner Sloan threw a lateral to Conner DeGeest, a sophomore backup QB. The lateral froze Mead’s defense, allowing Bowen to get behind the secondary for a 61-yard touchdown pass and 20-7 lead late in the third quarter at Sig Hansen Field.
“It worked a couple of times (in practice), but that couldn’t have worked any better than it did,” said Bowden, a senior who finished with three receptions for 165 yards, including a 77-yard hookup from Sloan with 6:08 left.
“We’d done the halfback pass before, but not off of a bubble,” CV coach Rick Giampietri said. “That was pretty well done and executed when we really need it. … DeGeest is a great kid … and he came through with a great throw.”
The Bears improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the GSL’s 4A division. The Panthers are 2-3, 0-2.
“That’s the most important thing right now, to be 2-0 and going into the meat of the schedule,” Giampietri said. “We have these young kids going and we have to keep them rolling.”
CV led 10-0 at halftime, courtesy of the first of three 22-yard field goals by sophomore Ryan Rehkow and Sloan’s 23-yard TD pass to sophomore Rhett Foley late in the first quarter.
The Bears held run-happy Mead to 55 total yards of offense in the first half, including 44 on the ground.
Mead, which had thrown 18 passes all season, had to open up its offense in the second half. The Panthers trimmed CV’s lead to 13-7 on sophomore Thomas Dammarell’s 45-yard TD pass to senior Anthony Gold midway through the third quarter.
Mead was in position to take the lead after senior Josh Richter recovered a fumble at CV’s 35-yard-line 2 minutes later, but a holding penalty stalled the drive. CV took over and unveiled its surprise five plays later.
Mead finished with 19 passing attempts for 171 yards, but CV picked off Dammarell three times. Senior Tucker Stout had two of the interceptions.
“We put some big guys in the middle and our perimeter had to do well,” Giampietri said. “Our linebackers had to run.”
Sloan started the game 10 for 11 for 107 yards and finished 16 for 28 for 248.
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