Chase Cash has been a gift to the Gonzaga Prep football team.
The junior defensive back stepped into the starting lineup after the season-opening game and hasn’t left.
Cash came up with two interceptions – his fifth and sixth – as the defending State 4A champion Bullpups defended their Greater Spokane League championship with a 28-19 win over visiting Central Valley.
G-Prep (7-2 overall, 5-0 GSL), which has won seven straight since back-to-back losses to open the season, stays at home next Friday to take on Mid-Columbia Conference runner-up Chiawana (8-1) in a play-in game while CV (7-2, 4-1) travels to MCC champ Richland (9-0).
Cash’s second interception came in the end zone with 52 seconds remaining.
“It should have been three (interceptions) but you take what you can get,” Cash said. “We (the defense) were out here making plays. We did a lot of bending but not breaking. We have a lot to clean up if we want to beat Chiawana but I believe we can do it. It’s a special team.”
“He’s a little machine,” G-Prep coach Dave McKenna said of Cash. “He just has fun playing football and we preach that. He does his job.”
Many of G-Prep’s mistakes came in the form of penalties. The Bullpups had eight in the first half and 13 overall for 120 yards.
At least one penalty cost the Bullpups a touchdown.
G-Prep never trailed. The Bullpups scored the game’s first touchdown when Kasey Anthony got in from a yard out.
CV running back Braedon Orrino, who had been picking up yards in chunks in previous weeks, was pretty much held in check. He finished with 52 yards on 20 carries.
Orrino scored CV’s first touchdown on a 16-yard run off left tackle. Armani Marsh blocked the point-after try.
Bullpups quarterback Ryan Gross scored the first of two TDs when he dove in from the 1, extending the lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter.
Four minutes later, Gross scored on a 21-yard run when he had a nice cut-back across the field. That gave G-Prep a 21-6 lead.
Orrino scored again, this time on a 3-yard counter, pulling CV within 21-12. That’s where the score stood at halftime.
CV took the opening possession of the second half and marched 70 yards. Quarterback Conner DeGeest hit Micah Mason on a 20-yard TD pass as the Bears cut the lead to 21-19.
G-Prep didn’t have to wait long to answer. Receiver Devin Culp scored on an 80-yard end around, and the 28-19 lead wouldn’t change thereafter.
“It was a very emotional game,” McKenna said. “CV’s is a very, very, very good football team. There’s a reason they’re (7-2). Hats off to them first of all. But our kids showed resilience and actually poise, too. I was proud of the way they battled and continued to battle.”
McKenna said it’s no secret what his team must do next week.
“We’ve got to get better,” he said. “Chiawana is a very good football team. We’ve got our hands full. I’ll take this team anywhere we go.”
CV turned the ball over four times.
“That’s a tough Prep defense,” CV coach Ryan Butner said. “You can’t make mistakes against a defense that’s that good. But I’ll tell you what. Our guys fought until the very end.”
G-Prep piled up 410 yards total offense, 296 on the ground. Culp finished with 114 on seven carries.
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