Depending on which side you were sitting on – and there finally were fans in the stands for the first time this season – it was either “the most exciting game to be a part of,” according to Mt. Spokane fullback Hudson Gilbert, or one of the biggest heartbreaks.
A fumble recovery by Mt. Spokane linebacker Connor Peterson in the Wildcats’ end zone late in the game gave them life, speedy wideout Jordan Sands set it up, and slotback Tyler Alm got it done.
Alm’s 1-yard run with just under 2 minutes left gave Mt. Spokane its first lead and the Wildcats held on to beat host Central Valley 19-15 in a Greater Spokane League 4A/3A game on Friday.
“The whole game, we had the mindset we were winning this game,” Gilbert said. “We got goal-line stops that were huge. I’m just so proud of my team.”
He said the comeback win doesn’t compare to anything he’s experienced on a football field.
“That was probably the most fun … I mean, I played with (2,000-yard rusher) Kannon Katzer last year, and I played Battle of the Bell with 10,000 people in the stands, and nothing matches that energy on the field.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, the teams traded fumbles inside the Mt. Spokane 20-yard line. The last one, on a CV screen, ended in the end zone where Peterson fell on it.
The Wildcats (3-1) took over at the 20. Kellen Flanigan connected with Aiden Prado for 21 yards, then Alm picked up a first down with a 9-yard run to the CV 41.
Sands got open down the right sideline and Flanigan lobbed it to the speedy receiver, who was hauled down at the 1. After a timeout, Alm busted off tackle into the end zone. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Wildcats led 19-15 with 1:49 left.
“It was a little underthrown,” Sands said. “But I was able to get there, get the ball.”
“I was hoping he’d get in the end zone, but he was tackled at the 1 and it helped us burn a little bit more time off the clock,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said.
CV (3-1) went four-and-out at its 17.
“They scored early on us and kind of got us, they had the advantage defensively on us and we weren’t getting much out of it,” Cloer said. “But our kids stuck together and they played together. It was a great team effort. Makes me choke up.”
After the teams traded punts to start the game, CV’s Luke Abshire connected with Shawn Moore on a screen to the right side for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with just under 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats tried to go deep down the right sideline, but Nic Saunders turned at the last and made a spectacular diving catch for an interception at the CV 10.
Late in the second, Mt. Spokane went three-and-out and was forced to punt from its end zone. The snap was low and punter Ethan Moczulski couldn’t handle it. He was swarmed by several Bears for a safety.
Saunders returned the free kick to the Mt. Spokane 39. Abshire hit Saunders to get to the 7 but three incompletions led to a 29-yard Hunter Myers field goal and a 12-0 halftime lead.
On the third play of the second half, Flanigan hit Jordan Sands in stride down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown pass-and-run to make it 12-7.
“I just burned him,” Sands said. “I got open on the route, knew what I was doing. I was ready to go.”
“It was a great completion,” Cloer said. “I was standing on sidelines, I didn’t have very good angle on it and they just stayed parallel right down the sideline.”
The Wildcats weren’t so lucky on their next possession. On third-and-10, Moore stepped in front of a receiver for an interception at the 28 and took it to the Wildcats’ 5. But Abshire’s third-down pass was knocked down at the line and Myers drilled a 22-yard field goal for a 15-7 lead with 6:48 in the third.
Cayden Coffield returned the kickoff to the CV 48. Alm’s 14-yard run put the Wildcats in the red zone, then Gilbert converted a fourth-and-1 at the CV 10. Three plays later he pounded it off-tackle from 1, but the 2-point attempt failed and CV maintained a two-point lead with 1:49 left in the frame.
After a CV punt, the Bears’ Zack McMurtrey gathered an errant screen pass at the Wildcats’ 35, then a personal foul set CV up at the 18. But Abshire coughed it up at the 4 and Mt. Spokane’s defense scooped it up.
Flanigan fumbled during second effort and CV took it at the 9. But after a completion the ball came out again, and the Peterson recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Mead 26, Ferris 0: Jo Sonnichsen ran for one TD and passed for another in the first quarter and the Panthers (2-2) beat the Saxons (1-3) in a GSL 4A/3A game at Union Stadium. Caleb Shawen had a 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Pullman 28, East Valley 7: Carson Coulter had three touchdown passes and one TD run and the Greyhounds (2-2) beat the host Knights (1-3) in a GSL 2A game. Hyatt Utzman hauled in a 50-yard TD catch for Pullman.
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