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Sports >  High school sports

Prep football: Mead continues late-season surge with win over Central Valley to secure playoff spot

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 26, 2018

A late-season resurgence has pushed Mead into the playoffs.

A midseason slump – back-to-back losses to Mt. Spokane and Gonzaga Prep – put the Panthers behind the eight-ball. But they recovered to finish with a flourish.

Ryan Blair connected with Michael Workman for three touchdown passes and visiting Mead topped Central Valley 30-20 to secure a playoff spot in the 4A Week 10 playoffs against a Mid-Columbia Conference team.

Where they will be seeded is still anyone’s guess.

“It feels great,” Workman said of qualifying for the postseason. “We were a little down after those losses but to come back and beat (Lewis and Clark) who was undefeated – we just got all of our momentum back.”

If Prep (6-2, 4-0) beats Lewis and Clark (7-1, 4-1) on Friday, it will take top seed and host a game, sending LC and Mead (6-3, 4-1) on the road. If LC wins and all three are 4-1 in league, that prompts a “Kansas City” tiebreaker where the three will play against each other on Tuesday.

“Taking care of what we can control, right?” Mead coach Benji Sonnichsen asked rhetorically. “We’re going to be in the playoffs regardless after tonight.

“That’s exactly what we wanted to do. These games at the end are pretty dang tough.”

Blair finished 17 of 24 for 195 yards and Workman had five catches for 120 yards.

“(The connection) has been clicking for a while and it’s really been working for us,” Workman said.

“They connected early and on some big stuff,” Sonnichsen said. “We had some weather elements tonight that affected us or we might have done a little more.”

The Panthers walked their first possession right down the field, working mainly between the tackles. A 12-yard run by Cam Crawford set Mead up at the Bears’ 12 and two plays later Isaiah Saldana pounded it in from the 6.

Crawford finished with 111 yards on 19 carries and Saldana had 13 carries for 73 yards.

The snap on the extra point was botched and Mead led 6-0 with 8:41 left in the quarter.

CV’s Hunter Chodorowski picked off a short pass attempt on Mead’s next drive – his first of two in the half –but the Bears went three-and-out.

Following a CV three-and-out, Mead fair caught the punt at its 30 and on the next play, Blair hit Workman in stride for a long touchdown and a 13-0 lead.

CV started to move the ball a little with Chodorowski picking up a 16-yard run out near midfield, but on a third-and-7 carry the wet, slick ball popped out and Mead recovered at its 42.

Mead tried a swingback pass at the CV 23 but Chodorowski grabbed the lob for his second pick of the game.

The big fullback took the next play up the middle for a 33-yard gain to the Mead 32. On fourth-and-9 Gabbert’s long pass was picked off by Jonathan Baird on the 3.

In he second quarter, Blair hit Workman down the right sideline on a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 20-0 lead.

CV (5-4, 2-3) sent Zack Jongeward off the right tackle on a 64-yard gallop to get the Bears on the board. They then recovered a fumbled punt return at the Mead 5.

On the next play, Chodorowski took it off-tackle for a score. A bad snap on the extra point made it 20-13 at the half.

Mead started the second half with an 11-play, 80-yard drive, culminated with an 8-yard TD pass from Blair to Workman – their third scoring connection of the night and Mead took a 14-point lead.

Chodorowski scored on a 3-yard run at the end of a short drive to make it 27-20 with 9:24 left.

A short punt set CV up at the Mead 45. Grant Kelly pulled down a deflected pass for a 16-yard gain. Chodorowski lugged it 11 yards to the 3 and pounded it in on the next play to cut the deficit to 27-20 with 9:24 left.

Jadon Melendez brought the kick out near midfield and a hit out of bounds call took it to the CV 34. The Panthers burned nearly 5 minutes off the clock and lefty kicker Eli Eldridge’s 33-yard field goal from the far hashmark made it a 10-point cushion with 4:28 to go.

“Eli can hit from everywhere,” Sonnichsen said. “That’s a tough field goal.”

On the next play, Baird intercepted Matt Gabbert’s long attempt to effectively end it.

Gabbert finished 5 of 18 for 49 yards with two interceptions. Chodorowski had 22 carries for 128 yards.

Around the GSL

Ferris 27, University 21: Jack Clavel found Zach Fleming for a 49-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and the Saxons (5-4, 1-4) topped the Titans (4-5, 0-5) in GSL 4A action in the early game at Albi Stadium.

It was Fleming’s only catch of the game. Clavel finished 12 of 18 for 202 yards with four TD passes. Brock Bozett hauled in five catches for 104 yards with two scores.

Gavin Wolcott went 10 of 19 for 181 yards with two TDs and rushed for 74 yards.

Rogers 31, North Central 24: Casey Jeske ran for 68 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and the Pirates (1-8, 1-2) defeated the Indians (1-8, 0-3) in GSL 3A action in the late game at Albi.

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