Freshman quarterback Jo Sonnichsen threw two touchdown passes and Mead topped visiting Lewis and Clark 34-17 in a Greater Spokane League 4A/3A game – the first to be held at Mead School District’s new Union Stadium on Saturday.
Senior running backs Caleb Shawen and Nick Terrill scored a touchdown apiece for the Panthers.
“This is just amazing to have this opportunity,” Mead coach Benji Sonnichsen said. “Just to have the refs here and the athletic directors and principals just, you know, everyone getting us to this point, so special for these kids. I think that we all just felt that this school year, and everything that we’ve gone through, we were missing something.”
The players were elated the region finally qualified for play and they were able to take to the field.
“Honestly, I was a little worried,” Shawen said. “But then when I saw Seattle go to Phase 2, I figured we would get there, too, and I’m just so happy to be out here in this new stadium. It’s been so great.”
“First game of brand new stadium, I mean it’s just great to, you know, create a winning tradition here,” Mead offensive tackle Josh Huffman said. “You know, set the path for … the future kids that are gonna represent the same jersey I rep.”
Mead got out quickly, scoring the first 13 points on a Sonnichsen 4-yard pass to Shawen and a pair of field goals – of 32 and 47 yards – by LJ Harm.
LC came back in the second quarter. A 32-yard completion from Wyatt Potter to Keenan Kuntz on the drive set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Gentz Hilburn. Mitchell Simpson added a 25-yard field goal midway through the quarter to make it 13-10.
After a botched punt play, LC got the ball at the Mead 43. On the next play, Potter found Hilburn down the sidelines for a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 17-13 LC lead at halftime.
Mead dialed it up on its first possession of the second half, as Sonnichsen hit Carson Tucker in stride in the middle of the field for a 72-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead.
Later in the quarter from the LC 16, Calvin Word took a short pass on the right side, crossed the field with a series of jukes and scored on the left sideline to put Mead up by 10. The Panthers added one more score on a 1-yard plunge by Terrell.
Shawen said there’s no shortage of motivation this season.
“Everybody’s been waiting for these seven games,” he said. “I mean, if it was one I would be happy. Like, if this was my only game, I would have been stoked.”
Central Valley 28, Ferris 12: Luke Abshire threw for 180 yards with two touchdowns, rushed for two more and the Bears (1-0) defeated the Saxons (0-1) in a home game for Ferris at Central Valley.
Cheney 28, University 14: Karl Barsness returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns and the Blackhawks (1-0) beat the visiting Titans (0-1) in a 4A/3A opener. Gabe Gerber added a pair of rushing touchdowns for Cheney.
Shadle Park 26, Clarkston 14: Ryan Schmidt rushed for one touchdown, passed for another and the visiting Highlanders (1-0) held on to an early lead against the Bantams (0-1) in a GSL 2A opener.
Othello 34, Pullman 14: Sonny Asu ran for 150 yards with three touchdowns and the visiting Huskies (1-0) defeated the Greyhounds (0-1) in a GSL 2A game.
Due to field conditions at Pullman HS, the game was moved to Martin Stadium at Washington State.
West Valley 55, Rogers 6: Malachi Clark rushed for 252 on 20 carries with three touchdowns and the Eagles (1-0) downed the visiting Pirates (0-1) in a GSL 2A opener.
North Central 24, East Valley 0: The Indians scored 24 points in the first half and topped the Knights in a GSL matchup.
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