Week 1 featured plenty of nonleague action, but with nine teams in the Greater Spokane League 4A/3A division, it also meant league games right from the start .
Let’s go around the league, as well as Eastern Washington and North Idaho, and take a look at five things that stood out to us in Week 1.
First, a programming note. Following up last year’s website revamping (Spokesman.com/high-school-sports/), we have rebranded our Facebook and Twitter accounts (@SRPreps) and started a weekly newsletter (sign up here: spokesman.com/newsletters/) that will come out Friday nights after play wraps up with all the stories, scores and recaps of the night.
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Host with the most
The Spokane city schools haven’t often played football on campus with Albi Stadium available for decades. But the past two seasons have been dicey in terms of scheduling as Albi was in the process of being torn down and construction on the new downtown stadium plugs away.
That has meant some of the other schools picking up the slack in terms of scheduling home games for Ferris, Lewis and Clark, Shadle Park, Rogers and North Central.
Many games had to move to Union Stadium, or Gonzaga Prep or University, and it put the city schools at a disadvantage – and to be honest, it’s not like they needed any additional hindrances to the programs.
Next year that’s alleviated as a centrally located new facility will be available to them, walking distance to student-athletes in some cases.
Ferris took matters into its own hands Friday afternoon, playing its first game on the South Hill campus since 1996, and first league game, it hosted Lewis and Clark. The Saxons were worn down by LC’s big offensive and defensive lines as the game wore on, but the student body, parents and fans showed up in a big way.
The grandstand was packed, the temporary bleachers set up for the visitors in the north end zone was overflowing, the hillsides on either side of the bleachers were full of folks on blankets and lawn chairs, and pee wees were playing touch football in the adjacent field while the varsity was playing.
It was a great atmosphere for high school football – a far cry from cavernous and decrepit Albi – and let’s hope that carries over to the new stadium downtown.
Traditional powers prevail
Every year folks ask me, “Who’s good in the GSL this year?” The answer is, “Who knows until they get on the field?”
But over the past decade, there are some programs that stick out and until they’re knocked off, they will be the measuring stick.
In the 4A/3A ranks, Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley and Mt. Spokane all got off to great starts with lopsided league wins on opening night.
G-Prep’s Bullpups rolled up 427 yards of offense – 328 on the ground – and shut out Cheney 58-0, limiting the Blackhawks to 161 yards. G-Prep had 10 players with rushes, with six gaining 25 yards or more.
The CV-Ridgeline game was marred by a couple of serious injuries, which delayed the conclusion of game until after the paper’s deadline. The Bears prevailed over the shorthanded Falcons 33-0 as converted wideout Dylan Gravelle completed 16-of-31 passes for 252 yards with three touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, Mt. Spokane’s Wildcats – who lost 20 starters to graduation – just kept plugging along in a 30-14 win over University at Union Stadium. The Titans scored twice in the fourth quarter for something to build on for next week.
Mead went to East Wenatchee to face a tough Eastmont team and came away with a 14-13 win as the defense blocked a field-goal attempt with less than 3 minutes left to preserve the victory.
Coach Keith Stamps’ Panthers aren’t going to sneak up on anyone this season. With senior QB Colby Danielson and tons of talent in the skill positions, Mead should be in contention all season with a showdown looming in Week 9 in the Battle for the Bell against Mt. Spokane.
West Valley stumbled down the stretch last season and was bitterly disappointed when it lost the three-way tiebreaker that determined playoff berths in the GSL 2A last season.
If it seems like the Eagles are playing with a chip on their shoulders this season, that might be why.
They got off to a solid start Friday, knocking off a good Freeman team with Boen Phelps, one of the top 1A quarterbacks in the state.
Raesean Eaton ran for two TDs and passed for two more for WV.
Gem state update
The biggest game in Idaho was Coeur d’Alene hosting Sandpoint. The Vikings entered play 0-2 and hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown in losses to defending 5A State champ Rigby and this season’s top-ranked Rocky Mountain.
The Vikings bounced back with a 27-15 win over Sandpoint, ranked No. 2 in Idaho 4A