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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  High school sports

Blake Speer scores 2 touchdowns, Mt. Spokane outlasts Mead in rivalry game 38-24.

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 15, 2021

There’s a reason the “Battle of the Bell” is part of the “Great American Rivalry” series.

When Mead and Mt. Spokane face off in their annual showdown, nothing matters except the effort level on the field. On Friday, it was another close, hard-hitting affair with big plays – with every penalty and mistake amplified.

It the end, Mt. Spokane took advantage of more of those big plays and mistakes and the Wildcats outlasted the Panthers 38-24 in a Greater Spokane League 3A showdown at Union Stadium.

The final score was closer than it appears – the Wildcats scored on an interception-return-turned-fumble-recovery in the end zone with just over 1 minute to play to pad the final margin.

Mt. Spokane’s Blake Speer scored on a 52-yard run early and a 31-yard pass with 1 minute, 44 seconds to go. Kellen Flanigan had two touchdown passes.

“It was crazy,” Flanigan said. “It was wild. I transferred from Mead last year, so it’s a little bit of a rivalry just between me and them. It was crazy, it was awesome. We fought hard, it was a good team win.”

“I wish I could have enjoyed that a little bit more,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said. “(Mead) did a great job of battling and getting a couple scores in the fourth quarter there to tie it up, and you know we showed some resiliency as well and kept playing and made a couple touchdowns, as well, on our end.”

“You got to come to a battle,” Flanigan said of the rivalry game.

“No matter what the record is, it’s going to be a battle and we knew that.”

The score was tied at 24 after Mead’s Colby Danielson connected with Madden Raab on a 15-yard TD with 3:47 left.

Flanigan hit Speer for 34 yards to the Mead 34-yard line, then two plays later hooked up again on the 31-yard TD strike.

“We threw that ball at the end, that was a good one,” Flanigan said. “We’ve just got to put it in our playmakers’ hands and they make plays.”

On the next series, Jerad Dotson intercepted Danielson at the 27 and took it to the 3, where he lost the ball. But Aidrik Hernandez was at the bottom of a pile of three Wildcats who fell on it in the end zone.

“It made me a little concerned when he reached for the end zone,” Cloer said. “But we’re able to recover it in the end zone and our kids kept playing and jumped on the ball.”

“We knew we had to put our foot down at the end and that’s what we did,” Flanigan said.

“I’m proud of the how hard the kids played tonight,” Mead first-year coach Keith Stamps said. “You know, we got behind a little bit right there at the start of the fourth quarter and then we get a couple scores and tie it up. A lot of courage. The improvement this crew has made in the last six weeks is unreal.”

Neither team moved it much in their first series. After Mead turned it over on downs, the Wildcats (5-1, 5-1) took over at their 39. Flanigan used three receivers for medium gains into Panthers territory. When the drive stalled at the Mead 29, Texas A&M-bound Ethan Moczulski drilled a 46-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

After trading punts, Mead (2-4, 2-3) benefited from a facemask penalty to move to the Wildcats 42. Danielson ran for 20 yards to the 7, but the Panthers couldn’t punch it in and settled for a 24-yard field goal by LJ Harm.

Speer returned the kickoff for a TD, but it came back on a penalty. Three plays later, he busted through the middle of the line and went 52 yards for a score that counted and Mt. Spokane went up 10-3.

Mead turned it over in its end, but the Wildcats couldn’t take advantage and a 43-yard field-goal attempt by Moczulski was wide right.

Danielson connected with Colby Thomas on a 46-yard catch-and-run to the Wildcats’ 9. Harm hit a 20-yard field goal, but the defense was called for roughing the kicker and the Panthers got a new set of downs.

On the next play, Skyler Harkness barreled into the end zone and the extra point tied it at 10.

Mt. Spokane answered. A pass interference call moved the ball to midfield. Flanigan hit Aiden Prado in stride for a 46-yard touchdown pass and 17-10 lead with just under 3 minutes in the half.

“It’s definitely one of his strengths, is throwing the deep balls,” Cloer said of Flanigan. “Him and Jordan (Sands) and Aiden, they all have a great connection with each other.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Mead was forced to punt from its end zone. The middle of the line got through to block it, and the Wildcats’ Ethan Keene fell on it for a TD and 24-10 lead.

It was a designed play.

“They were backed up a little bit, so we said we might as well take a shot at it and then see if we could get to it,” Cloer said.

Mead followed with an 11-play drive, aided by a pair of defensive penalties. With second-and-10 from the Mt. Spokane 15, Danielson hit Thomas in the flat and he wrestled his way into the end zone to make it a one-score game with just over 9 minutes left.

The Panthers’ defense forced a three-and-out and the offense took over at its 33. Danielson hit Raab for 12 and another defensive penalty on Mt. Spokane put it at the Mt. Spokane 34. Five plays later, Danielson hit Raab again near the sideline and he twisted his way into the end zone. The extra point tied it at 24.

“They’ve got some good football players,” Cloer said of the Panthers. “They’ve had to jell under a new coaching staff and come together and they’re finding their stride now.”

“There’s a good chance this is the best game we played, you know, for the fifth week in a row,” Stamps said. “And I just love how hard we played and I love how tough we were.”

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