Friday night was one of those idyllic fall evenings that was made for high school football.
It’s like the P.A. announcer at Albi Stadium used to say right before kickoff, “What else are you gonna do on a Friday night?”
Since the Greater Spokane League 4A/3A slate seemed to present some mismatches – and some of that was borne out with three of the four games ending in shutouts – we took the opportunity to cover an intriguing 1A game, and were glad we did.
Picking off the competition
We expected the Northeast A showdown between Riverside and Freeman to be a clash between Rams dual-threat quarterback Silas Ng and the Scotties’ robust defense. While Ng was impressive in his own right, Riverside proved to be more than a one-player show as the Rams stayed undefeated (5-0, 2-0) with a 24-14 win.
Ng completed 10 of 17 passes for 118 yards and a TD and carried 14 times for 99 yards. As coach Buddy Wood said, “(Ng) has that great vision and knows when to give, when to keep, knows when to pull and when to make the throw over the top.”
But the breakout star was Riverside’s Jordan Nortz, all 5-foot-8, 160 pounds of him. Nortz picked off three passes, including the game-sealer with just more than 2 minutes to go, and hauled in a 12-yard TD pass from Ng that made it 24-0 early in the third quarter.
Riverside entered play ranked No. 5 in 1A by the state media poll and No. 2 in the WIAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Friday’s win will only cement those rankings.
Looming on the horizon is a date against Lakeside (5-0, 2-0) on Oct. 15.
Too close for comfort
With Gonzaga Prep (4-0, 3-0) off this week due to lack of healthy players within the Ridgeline varsity program, Central Valley needed to just get past University to set up a battle of league unbeatens at the top of the 4A/3A table next week.
The Bears pulled it off … but barely.
Trailing the upset-minded Titans by seven entering the fourth quarter, Luke Abshire connected with Danner Smith on a 17-yard touchdown pass at the start of the quarter to tie it. As time was running out, Aiden Labrosse mailed a 32-yard field goal for a 27-24 win to preserve CV’s unblemished GSL record.
The Bears (4-1, 4-0) will host the Bullpups next week in a matchup that will assuredly hold interest across the state.
Mt. Spokane shut out Lewis and Clark, which might not be too surprising to the casual reader.
How they did it is another story.
The Wildcats (3-1, 3-1) dressed fewer than 25 players, according to head coach Terry Cloer, who was in COVID protocol himself. With offensive coordinator Danny Figueira at the helm, Mt. Spokane used a steady diet of Tyler Alm between the tackles and an opportunistic connection from QB Kellen Flanigan to Aiden Prado to muster enough offense.
While LC backs Gentz Hillburn (20 carries, 114 yards) and Charles Northern (11 for 84) consistently moved the ball, the Wildcats’ defense forced enough mistakes and turnovers to keep the Tigers out of the end zone.
The GSL 2A ranks have been a bit jumbled, with most of the teams trading wins and losses and beating up on each other, but one team is starting to stand out.
Clarkston lost its first two games of the season to out-of-state opponents, falling to Moscow and Lewiston by multiple touchdowns.
But the Bantams have mowed through league opponents just as easily during the past three weeks. The latest was a 42-14 win over Rogers in which they led 27-0 at intermission.
QB Carter Steinwand tossed four touchdown passes, helping the Bantams (3-2, 3-0) exert control in the league standings.
They’ll host East Valley (2-1, 1-1), big winners over North Central, next week and Shadle Park (2-2, 2-0) in the final week of the regular season.
Gem State update
North Idaho teams enter league play next week, and Sandpoint might want to petition to move up a class.
The Bulldogs beat Lake City 28-13 to go 3-1 against the IEL 5A teams this season, with their only loss a two-point decision to Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 3.
Sandpoint’s overall record of 3-2 is deceiving – it’s other loss this season was to 3A No. 1 Homedale on the road near Boise.
Meanwhile, Coeur d’Alene (4-1) blanked injured Ferris 48-0 and Lewiston (5-1) handled Moscow 48-13 to seemingly set up a showdown in the last game of the regular season.
But don’t count out Post Falls (3-3), which has scored 38-plus points in four straight games.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.