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

Friday Night (High)lights: Powers rise to top of standings; Central Valley’s Brandon Thomas finds paydirt

The results through Week 3 in the Greater Spokane League start to give us a good barometer of how the divisions might sort themselves out by the end of the season.

With a nine-game regular season, and nine teams in the 4A/3A division, some teams have played nothing but league games. And we have to give a tip of our cap to the schedule-makers this year, lining things up so the traditional powers meet in the second half of the season.

Most of the 2A division finally got a taste of league action this week .

Let’s go around the league and take a look at five things that stood out to us in Week 3.

Power hungry

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley, Mt. Spokane and Mead are undefeated in league play .

All four put up lopsided wins this week – some more lopsided than others – en route to keeping their records spotless.

Mead dominated Ridgeline 38-0 Thursday to kick off the week. Senior quarterback Colby Danielson was efficient through the air (14 of 17, two touchdowns) and back-breaking on the ground, with scoring runs of 22 and 31 yards.

Friday saw G-Prep rout Ferris 35-6, with five players scoring touchdowns, and Mt. Spokane ride roughshod over Lewis and Clark 38-16, as junior QB T.J. Haberman looked comfortable in coach Terry Cloer’s offense.

No doubting Thomas

CV took care of business with 10 fourth-quarter points to secure a 17-0 win over Cheney, but it was their first score that had all the buzz, Linebacker Brandon Thomas scored on a first-quarter 32-yard interception return to get the Bears on the board.

You’d have to be purposely avoiding high school sports in Spokane if you haven’t heard of Thomas’ remarkable return to football after losing his right leg to cancer 2½ years ago. Now in his second season playing on the prosthetic, it’s second nature to him – and GSL ball-carriers are paying the price.

Thomas has collected double-digit tackles in each of his first three games and is well on his way to an all-league selection his senior season, something he did as a sophomore before his diagnosis.

The only thing more impressive than his performance is his attitude.

Dark days

There will be better days in the future for the University, Ferris and Ridgeline programs. There has to be. All three are struggling to get their feet underneath them in the division.

This isn’t meant to kick them while they’re down, but the three programs have been outscored cumulatively 300-33 this season.

The problem is illustrative of several issues involving high school sports. While a lot of Ridgeline’s struggles can be attributed to being a second-year program, all three schools are working in new skill players with recently hired coaching staffs.

Another issue: Both U-Hi and Ferris lost skill players from last season to in-league transfers – and they aren’t the only ones.

It’s an issue that most coaches and ADs in the area (and across the state, frankly) whisper about, but with the state’s lax rules governing the situation, folks are fairly helpless to do anything about it.

Off and runningThe 2As finally got into league play, with Shadle Park, Clarkston, and Pullman coming away with victories.

Shadle’s Highlanders used a big second half to pull away from West Valley, which is reeling after back-to-back losses. Shadle featured heavy doses of bruising tailback Beckett Ensminger, who runs the ball like a linebacker – initiating contact instead of taking it.

Ensminger carried 26 times for 228 yards and a score against the Eagles, and the rest of the ranks better get used to seeing his number called in coach Jim Mace’s power offense.

Gem state update

Post Falls was impressive in a 41-0 win over U-Hi, as QB Isaac McKeown tossed two TD passes and Jake Bustamante scored two – one rushing, one receiving.

Coeur d’Alene finally got a “signature win,” edging 4A Lakeland 14-13 behind a 28-yard TD run by Kruz Wheeler, a transfer from Ferris. The Hawks (4-1) were voted No. 5 by state media last week and losing to a 5A school by one isn’t going to damage their emerging reputation in the state.

Lakeland’s showdown on Oct. 7 with previously ranked Sandpoint, which was state runner-up last season, will determine the top North seed to the 4A playoffs.

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