The Ridgeline Falcons officially took wing Friday night.
Never mind that the newest football team in the Greater Spokane League was facing the oldest school in Greater Spokane. Never mind that every football in the team ball bag still looks like it just arrived from the Wilson factory. And never mind that the school band was still trying to master the school fight song.
The Falcons have a game under their collective belt after battling Lewis and Clark for the first four quarters in school history, with the Tigers coming away with a 33-13 victory on the most exciting Friday night in the history of Liberty Lake.
“There’s a lot here to build on,” Ridgeline coach Dave Myers said. “For a lot of these kids, this was their first taste of varsity football. We started a lot of sophomores and even started a freshman. We started a sophomore at quarterback who had never played a varsity game.
Lewis and Clark used its 220-pound fullback, Matt Heer, to pound away at a young, undersized defensive line. Heer carried six times on a nine-play, 65-yard drive for the game’s first touchdown and ran four straight times on a 17-yard drive following a shanked Ridgeline punt to put the Tigers up 20-0 midway into the second quarter.
The Falcons earned the wings on their next drive.
Starting from their 23, quarterback Tanner Smith dropped back to pass, deked an LC defensive end who stormed into the Falcons’ backfield and scrambled 22 yards for the school’s first first down. A quick screen pass to running back Cole LeGrant put Ridgeline in LC territory and then Smith threw a nice deep ball to Jaden Long for the first touchdown.
“That was a nice throw,” Myers said. “You could see these kids learn and get better with each series. They were learning and you could see it. Right now, it’s about getting them reps. The more they play together the more they are going to get the feel for how to play with each other.”
In all, the Falcons had three drives end on fourth down in the Lewis and Clark red zone. As time ran out, they came up with a blocked punt to get the ball at the LC 24.
Smith had an open receiver in the end zone and overthrew him. He found his favorite receiver, freshman Brayden Allen, in the end zone, but Allen couldn’t hold onto the ball while falling backward.
On the final play of the first game, Smith kept the ball, dropped his head and punched his way into the end zone.
And that, as Myers said, is something to build on.