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Shadle Park shuts down Gonzaga Prep

Shadle Park’s Darrius Savick Batters dances along the sideline after making a catch while Gonzaga Prep defender Jordon Rathbone reaches for him. (Jesse Tinsley)
Shadle Park’s Darrius Savick Batters dances along the sideline after making a catch while Gonzaga Prep defender Jordon Rathbone reaches for him. (Jesse Tinsley)

This just in – the Shadle Park football team has much to complement quarterback Brett Rypien.

Like a defense, to begin with. And a sure-handed wide receiver, Jahden Nguyen.

The 3A Highlanders were able to do whatever they wanted Friday at Albi Stadium against 4A Gonzaga Prep, thwarting the Bullpups 25-13 in a nonleague game that wasn’t that close.

Except for a late 81-yard run by running back Jack Bamis, the Highlanders smothered the Bullpups’ offense.

Right in the middle of it were senior nose guard Zach Price and senior linebacker Logan Kurucz.

“Our plan was a bit different from what we ended up doing, but we ran our Eagle front,” Price said. “We expected the inside run (Bamis) but then they started cutting it out a lot. We dominated their line. We just did amazing. That’s assignment football, that’s all it is. They had one plan, if you stop that they can’t come back. That’s what we did.”

It was all Shadle Park in the first half.

The Highlanders (4-1) piled up 284 yards total offense to G-Prep’s 48 in the first two quarters.

Rypien threw two touchdown passes to Sam Stratton and Zaq Munson plunged in from a yard out with 25 seconds to go in the second quarter as Shadle took a 19-0 lead into halftime.

And it should have been a bigger lead, judging from the lopsided statistics.

Now there’s no undefeated team in the Greater Spokane League.

It’s been a grueling start of the season for G-Prep, which opened with wins over Richland, Bellarmine Prep, Mead and Mt. Spokane before playing its worst game Friday.

Bamis had 34 of the Bullpups’ 48 yards in the first half, and when the game mattered he couldn’t cut anything loose.

The Highlanders probably exposed G-Prep’s weaknesses on offense. Now as the Bullpups continue in league play, it will be interesting to see if any teams can do the same.

“Mentally, this is really huge,” Price said. “You’ve got to respect Gonzaga Prep. That’s what I said the whole week to my teammates. As long as you do your job and do your duty, that’s how we’re going to finish like we did. We’ve just got to play every game like that now.”

Nguyen has stepped up as Rypien’s most reliable target. He finished with a season-high 15 catches for 122 yards.

Just as important was Nguyen recovering an onside kick late.

“I trust Brett a lot to get me the ball, but honestly I owe it all to my receivers for blocking for me,” Nguyen said. “I wouldn’t be getting any yards without them.”

Nguyen said the Highlanders are headed in the right direction. Before they jump into 3A league play, next up is Ferris, which shared the league title with Shadle last year.

“I’m glad where we’re at right now,” Nguyen said. “We’re getting wins but we haven’t played our best yet. That’s the greatest thing overall because once we play our best game we’re going to be putting up serious numbers.”

Rypien completed 35 of 45 for 352 yards.

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