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Sports >  High school sports

Greater Spokane League football: Defense, special teams lead Gonzaga Prep over Ferris

UPDATED: Fri., March 26, 2021

Gonzaga Prep got an unexpected week off last week with University High stuck in COVID-19 protocol, but by the looks of it, you couldn’t tell.

The Bullpups limited visiting Ferris to one first down in the first half as they built a 42-0 lead at halftime and cruised to a 56-8 win in a Greater Spokane League game on Friday.

“We pride ourselves on our defense, and I think we have one of the best defenses in the state bar none,” defensive lineman Ephraim Watkins said.

G-Prep forced a pair of turnovers on kickoffs in the first half, leading to two short touchdown drives.

“One of the biggest parts of the game, that controls field position,” Watkins said. “So when those guys make plays like that, it makes my job easier, and makes (another teammate’s) job easier – makes everyone’s job a lot easier.”

Jaden Ortega scored three first-half touchdowns and Ryan McKenna had 18 carries for 225 yards and three TDs, including 75- and 59-yard romps in the second half, played under a running clock.

“(The defense) played lights out. Ferris is a good team,” Gonzaga Prep coach Dave McKenna said. “Our kids responded (to the bye week). That’s what happens when you’re limited on the amount of games you get to play.

“Last week they were excited to play, and it is what it is, and we didn’t get a game. So they were excited to play this week, and they had really good energy and it was fun. They had a good week of practice and we’ve got to continue to do that.”

McKenna wasn’t worried coming in about a lack of continuity.

“These kids are resilient, you know? They’re half-day in school, the other kids are at home. I mean, it’s back and forth. They just roll with it and keep getting better and better and better.”

G-Prep (4-0) didn’t score on its first possession, but punter Evan Duchesne pinned Ferris at its 1.

After a three-and-out, Luciano Reynolds returned a short Ferris punt to the Ferris 25. The Bullpups plodded down the field and a six-play drive culminated in a 6-yard touchdown run by Ortega.

“Offensive line was out there cookin’ – big blocks out there,” Ortega said. “Big holes for Ryan and I, great game. It was lit.”

The Bullpups took over at their 41 on their next possession. McKenna broke off a 26-yard run to the Ferris 24, then a facemask penalty put it in the red zone. Ortega pounded it in from the 1 for a 14-0 lead.

The ensuing kickoff bounced around at the 22 and G-Prep recovered. Two plays later, Ortega scored on a 9-yard run.

“We were hanging around, physically I thought,” Ferris coach Tom Yearout said. “We just made some mistakes and we didn’t prepare them as coaches like we should’ve on special teams.”

The Saxons (1-4) coughed up the next kick and G-Prep started at the 19. A penalty pushed the Bullpups back, but McKenna found Julian Arias on third-and-goal for a 28-0 lead.

“Changed all the momentum,” Dave McKenna said of the special teams plays. “Duchesne does a great job kicking the ball and we got some good bounces, and our kids made the play when the opportunity was there. We covered kicks really well tonight.”

Robert Collier Jr. scored on a 3-yard run and Ryan McKenna added a 3-yard plunge to make it 42-0 at intermission.

Back in the game: G-Prep junior defensive lineman Kaz Melzer made his season debut coming off a knee injury sustained last spring.

“Oh, it was amazing,” Melzer, a Division I prospect, said. “It’s been a long road back and I really appreciate getting to be back out here with the with the brothers, get another game in.”

“It was awesome, loved seeing him back out there,” Ryan McKenna said. “I’m just happy to see him having fun again and see him on the field again. It’s awesome.”

Central Valley 20, Lewis and Clark 3: Matt Parkman and Terrance Kelley scored on short TD runs and the visiting Bears (4-1) beat the Tigers (1-4) in a home game for LC at Central Valley. Dakari Pakootas returned a fumble 55 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter.

Mead 41, Cheney 7: Caleb Shawen scored three rushing touchdowns and the Panthers (3-2) beat the visiting Blackhawks (2-3). Cheney’s TD came on a 96-yard catch and run by Ryan Rieckmann.

2A

West Valley 42, Clarkston 6: Malachi Clark had TD runs of 10 and 5 yards and the Eagles (4-0) beat the visiting Bantams (2-3). Kamron Holley added a 46-yard interception return for a score and a 26-yard TD reception.

Othello 39, North Central 7: The Huskies (3-2) beat the visiting Indians (1-3). Carter Strom scored on a 1-yard run for NC.

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