Gonzaga Prep coach Dave McKenna said his team “hadn’t faced much adversity this season.” They saw plenty of it Thursday night.
After allowing 22 unanswered points to Lewis and Clark – fighting for its last chance at a playoff spot – and trailing 25-21 at the end of three quarters, the Bullpups found another gear to score twice in the fourth to survive the challenge and finish the season undefeated in league.
“That’s a beautiful thing in this league,” McKenna said of the undefeated season. “I mean, I’ve been doing this a few years and it’s tough to do. That’s something these kids can take with them.”
Jonah Keller rushed seven times for 175 yards with three long touchdowns and the visiting Bullpups (8-1, 8-0) beat the Tigers (4-5, 3-5) 35-25 in a GSL 4A/3A game at ONE Spokane Stadium.
“We have the capability.” McKenna said. “We haven’t really faced (adversity). And so that’s a great thing for our kids to face.”
Keller, a sophomore, was happy to be able to send the seniors out with one more win.
“It means a lot, especially for our seniors, with just one (league) loss in their career here. It means a lot.”
Keller had touchdown runs of 48, 49 and 60 yards for Gonzaga Prep – the last in the fourth quarter to stop an impressive LC run of scoring plays.
“It means a lot that coach has a lot of trust in me to make a play, especially after I had my fumble (earlier in the game), that they trusted me enough to come back and do my stuff,” Keller said.
“We blocked the perimeter really well,” McKenna said. “If you go back and watch, (receiver Isaiah Docken) blocked extremely well. He helped on the perimeter there on three of those (runs) and I’m really proud of him because he’s battled.
“But Jonah, he just hits the gear and goes.”
LC was led by quarterback Jack Paridon, who went 21 of 40 for 241 yards with two touchdowns. Lewis and Clark needed a win and a Central Valley loss Friday to remain playoff eligible.
Keller scored on two long runs as Gonzaga Prep built a 14-0 lead after one quarter. LC got a 42-yard field goal by Wilson hash to stem the momentum for a moment, but Nikko Alexander returned the kickoff 88 yards for a score to make it 21-3.
LC didn’t wilt. Hash added a 24-yard field goal, then Ian Schwartz got behind the defense for a 27-yard touchdown catch and LC trailed 21-12 at intermission.
Sam Toure added an 18-yard TD catch early in the third, then Romin Salecki scored on a 15-yard run to pull the Tigers ahead by four.
But Hash had another long field goal attempt blocked, and a little later Keller went around the right end for his third long TD of the night. G-Prep recovered a line drive kickoff that bounced off an up-man, and 2 minutes later Bodie Stafford connected with Carson Flynn for the insurance score.