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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Central Valley capitalizes on first quarter turnovers, downs Ferris 41-0

It’s amazing how quickly fortunes can turn.

Ferris came into Friday’s game at Central Valley with two straight wins and played CV tough for the first couple of series. But then, the proverbial floodgates opened and the Saxons could not get them closed.

Ferris turned the ball over three times in the first quarter in three ways – a bad punt snap, an interception and fumble – and Central Valley took full advantage, scoring a touchdown after all three.

Add in a key injury early for the Saxons and things got lopsided in a hurry.

Luke Abshire threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and the Bears blanked the Saxons 41-0 in a Greater Spokane League 4A/3A game.

It was the second straight shutout for the Bears’ defense.

“That felt great,” CV coach Ryan Butner said. “That was good on both sides of the ball, defense did what they did last week.

“Smothering, did a fantastic job, and we capitalized on a couple of the turnovers and was able to put a couple things together offensively that made me feel better this week.”

Ferris starting running back Kruz Wheeler left the game after a short gain on Ferris’ second possession and did not return.

“We just had a bunch of injuries and then we had some young guys that had to step up and were a little overwhelmed,” Ferris coach Malik Roberson said. “So, you know, this is a great, great growing experience and all we can do is just go back to the drawing board and coach the guys up and get better.”

After an initial first down on an 11-yard swing pass to Wheeler, CV forced Ferris to punt from its 35 and a bad snap over the head of the punter was covered at the 6. On fourth-and-goal at the 4, Abshire hit Dylan Gravelle with a swing pass and he went untouched into the end zone.

The next time Ferris punted it turned out much better, pinning CV at its 8. Zac Abshire busted a second-down run up the sideline for 34 yards into Saxons territory, but the Bears’ drive stalled at the 17, where Aiden Labrosse drilled a 34-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

On Ferris’ next play, Jide Olajoyegbe tried to make a jump pass while being hit and it was picked off by Nic Saunders at the Saxons’ 42. Saunders got caught up in a bunch of bodies near the sideline, then broke into the middle of the field for clear sailing to the end zone.

“I was debating about staying with the receiver or just coming up and making the play,” Saunders said. “I stayed long enough and he threw it right to me. I just made the play.”

How did he get clear of all the traffic and manage to stay inbounds?

“That’s a secret, man,” he said.

“He’s been one of the best players on our team for three years,” Butner said of Saunders. “He is so talented on both sides of the ball and we haven’t had to use him on the offensive side, maybe later in the season.”

Ferris coughed it up again at its 17 and CV’s Zach McMurtrey fell on it. Two plays later, Luke Abshire took a bootleg around the right end, and CV led 24-0 late in the quarter.

“We had some bad breaks and they took advantage of it,” Roberson said. “We just got to take care of the ball better in certain situations.”

It stayed that way until the end of the second quarter. The Bears had third-and-7 at their 22 and Luke Abshire hit Zac Abshire on a screen pass that went undefended. The younger Abshire ran down the sideline with multiple blockers 78 yards for the score and 31-0 lead.

“I was really surprised because I caught the ball, turned around and there’s nobody there,” Zac Abshire said. “It was just Cody (Kuhl), our lineman, he’s running down the field wide open. It was crazy, but it was just open field, so it was great blocking.”

Abshire finished with 64 yards rushing and 84 yards receiving on two catches.

A third-quarter 5-yard TD catch by Ridge Christlieb and early fourth-quarter field goal by Labrosse put the game in running clock.