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

Friday Night (High)Lights: Murky Greater Spokane League races starting to gain some clarity

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 18, 2021

Ferris quarterback Paxton Page (6) is sacked for a loss by Central Valley linebacker San Cann (31) during the first half of a high school football game, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, at Central Valley High School.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Ferris quarterback Paxton Page (6) is sacked for a loss by Central Valley linebacker San Cann (31) during the first half of a high school football game, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, at Central Valley High School. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

With three weeks in the books, the Greater Spokane League races are starting to get a little clearer – at least in the 4A ranks.

Traditional heavy hitters Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley and Mt. Spokane all won big Friday night, exerting their dominance again while we eagerly anticipate when these teams face off later in the season.

The 2A league season started this week and after the teams combined to go 3-9 the first two weeks we had a chance to see some of these teams compete against each other.

In North Idaho, we can see a challenger to the throne emerge.

Bus stop

They say the only undefeated opponent is time. But more and more recently, the lack of a dependable transportation is a close second.

This isn’t just an area problem – there’s a bus driver shortage all over the country. In some states, governors have asked the National Guard to transport high school sports teams to contests.

We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but reports of JV games getting postponed last week due to lack of transportation is another blow to the student-athletes that have been through so much the past two years.

Kids are resilient, but after COVID cancellations and wildfire smoke choking the late-summer skies, this is one last thing no one should have to worry about.

Big 3 rolling

Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley and Mt. Spokane won Friday night by a combined score of 133-3. It’s no surprise that these three teams are at the top of the standings again – that’s where they’ve always been in recent memory.

Mt. Spokane hosts Central Valley at Union Stadium next week, while Gonzaga Prep travels to CV on Oct. 8 and hosts Mt. Spokane on Oct. 29 in the last regular-season game.

The G-Prep-CV game will most likely determine the seeds for the Week 10 games against the Mid-Columbia Conference, and all of these games are appointment viewing for fans of high school football in the area – and will no doubt draw the interest of opposing scouts from the West Side.

League games

It would have been tough for the GSL 2A teams to collectively get off to a worse start. All three wins coming into Week 3 were against 1A teams, and some of the losses were pretty uninspiring.

League play has started and a few of the teams seem to have found their footing, albeit against each other.

These things are cyclical to some point – for others, it’s COVID that’s putting a damper on things, or it might be a case of adjusting to a new classification or new league or it could be the same socioeconomic ills that have troubled some in the group for a while now.

The bright spot is that folks across the state have thought enough of at least two of the seven to award them votes in the media poll, so maybe the outlook isn’t so bad.

Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll see the level of play pick up across the ranks and we’ll have a competitive league race down the stretch.

Home again

Bravo for Rogers High School. Though the result on the field might not have been what they were looking for in a 42-20 loss to Shadle Park on Saturday, by all accounts the first home game on campus since 2002 was a rousing success.

They didn’t let a steady drizzle dampen the joy and excitement of having a true home game. Born out of necessity due to the (de)construction at Albi Stadium, they hope this isn’t a one-time thing. According to athletic director Aaron Brecek, the Pirates want to make it a yearly tradition of hosting a Saturday game on campus to give the players, coaches and fans a true home experience.

While the new downtown stadium will be an awesome venue and a huge upgrade from the dilapidated Albi, it’s still a great experience for one of the city schools – a real morale-booster – and after the past two years, these kids and families deserve all they can get. And who knows, maybe that will help the product on the field eventually.

Meet the new boss?For the better part of 20 years in North Idaho, the road to the 5A state playoffs has gone through Coeur d’Alene. The Vikings have been the gold standard in the Inland Empire and might be again this season.

But after a Week 1 thumping by Lehi (Utah), narrowly escaping with a W against 4A Sandpoint and a tough road trip to the West Side, CdA has rarely looked as vulnerable.

Enter Lewiston, which has reeled off four straight wins to start the season, each more impressive than the last. QB Kace McKarcher has emerged as a two-way threat and the Bengals defense has shown resilience against foes big and small.

There’s a long way to go, but CdA shouldn’t be resting on any laurels once league play rolls around.

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