As Central Valley head coach Rick Giampietri put it, his Bears played a good 24 minutes of football.
Luckily for them, it was the second 24 minutes that saw the team turn a 17-7 halftime deficit into a 31-17 win over the rival University Titans.
With the win, the Bears secured second place in the Greater Spokane League 4A standings and will host Chiawana at CV next Friday. The loss – U-Hi’s fourth in a row after starting the season 5-0 – drops the Titans to 5-4 overall and 1-4 in league play.
“The defense came alive (in the second half),” Giampietri said. “We got some picks that turned things around for us. We just talked to them at halftime and let them know it was only (a 10-point deficit). It was great pressure and good motors.”
Those picks Giampietri referenced totaled six for the game, one of which went back for a touchdown.
After a Ryan Rehkow 52-yard field goal put the Bears up by a touchdown late in the game, CV’s Christian Williams picked off U-Hi quarterback Logan O’Neil. It was Williams’ second interception of the night and nearly clinched the victory for the Bears.
After a CV punt, U-Hi got the ball back with 80 yards to go to potentially tie the game, but Chase Gilbert intercepted O’Neil on first down. A Gage Connole rushing touchdown a few plays later gave CV a two-possession lead that it would not give up.
“(U-Hi) is a potent team and can score on you at any time,” Giampietri said. “Those picks helped us a ton and got us fired up.”
U-Hi opened the scoring in the first quarter with some trickery. On third down, O’Neil connected with Tanner Chase, who then pitched the ball to Treivon Tuggles, who took the ball 45 yards to the end zone.
Connole answered in the second quarter on a two-yard rushing touchdown. Connole’s score followed CV’s first interception of the game.
U-Hi’s Griffin Thorson hauled in a touchdown pass from O’Neil to re-take the lead. A 30-yard field goal from Adam Drassen gave U-Hi its 17-7 halftime lead.
But once the second half started, it was all CV.
Williams’ first interception of the night went back 40 yards for a touchdown, cutting into U-Hi’s lead.
On U-Hi’s ensuing possession, CV’s Tanner Gummersall picked off O’Neil, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Alec Doyle to give CV a 21-17 lead.
In all, CV scored 28 points off of six U-Hi turnovers.
The emotional win for the Bears was made sweeter because it was against their rival. But with the playoffs looming, the celebration can’t last too long.
“We’ve got to keep rolling,” Giampietri said. “We need to get better because we play a tough Chiawana team next Friday night.
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