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

Friday Night (High)lights: The ‘Bell’ rings true again; GSL 2A division needs Tuesday tiebreaker third straight year

We have come to the end of the regular season and while most of the playoff teams from the Greater Spokane League have been identified, not all have been. The two classifications in the upper division have been sorted out: Gonzaga Prep and Central Valley from 4A; Mt. Spokane and Ridgeline from 3A are moving on.

Clarkston is the 2A league champion and qualified for the playoffs. A three-way tiebreaker on Tuesday for the second playoff spot will add clarity to the situation.

And if you’re a supporter of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, their matchups have been defined as well.

Here are my weekly five thoughts (plus one) about the football performances in the GSL and Eastern Washington.

‘Bell’ tolls

Anyone who thought the “Battle of the Bell” wouldn’t live up to the hype despite the opposing records just wasn’t paying attention. The last six rivalry meeting headed into Friday night’s game had all been settled by 10 points or less.

Make that seven now, as Mt. Spokane needed to knock down a Hail Mary attempt to preserve a 27-20 win over Mead at Union Stadium.

One-loss Mt. Spokane was playoff bound, and Mead was playing for pride. But it was the Panthers’ Super Bowl – they would have liked nothing less than to hand the Wildcats a blemish heading into the postseason.

Mead quarterback/running back Jimmy Frahm – generously listed at 5-foot-6, 158 pounds – said it all. “It’s good to just come out as underdogs and kind of give it to them a little bit,” he said.

All they wanted

Gonzaga Prep finished the regular season undefeated in league, but it wasn’t easy. Lewis and Clark was still battling for a shot at the playoffs Thursday night and led going into the fourth quarter. But the Bullpups found the resolve to score twice in the latter stages to pull out a 35-25 win.

G-Prep coach Dave McKenna said his team “hadn’t faced much adversity this season,” and LC gave them a good dose of it – and could make the Bullpups a better team for it heading into the postseason.

“We have the capability,” McKenna said. “We haven’t really faced (adversity). And so that’s a great thing for our kids to face.”

Ridgeline romps

The Falcons breezed past Ferris 56-7 on Friday as Landon Garner threw six touchdown passes for 259 yards and Brayden Allen caught 10 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Ridgeline has outscored its past four opponents 220-34.

Allen owns the league’s single-season and career receptions marks, but Garner is ascending the record books, too. He finished the season with 2,204 passing yards, the fifth most in a single season and only the ninth in league history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark in a season.

Tiebreaker central

Chaos reigns in the 2A ranks. Shadle Park won Thursday, and combined with West Valley’s loss and Rogers’ win Friday, it sets up a “Kansas” tiebreaker on Tuesday at University High School at 6 p.m. West Valley plays Shadle in the first minigame, with the winner facing Rogers in the second for the league’s second playoff spot.

It’s the third consecutive year the league has needed a Tuesday tiebreaker .

Week 10 assignments

The rest of the matchups are set for teams out of the playoffs. Lewis and Clark plays at Eisenhower; Mead travels to West Valley (Yakima); University plays at Pasco; Ferris hosts Southridge; Cheney hosts Walla Walla; North Central hosts Grandview; Pullman hosts Selah; and East Valley travels to East Valley (Yakima).

Third and fourth in 2A will take on Prosser and Ellensburg, depending on Tuesday’s result.

Most of these games will be on Thursday. We will update our online schedule page once details are confirmed.

History lesson

I wrote about the death of former Gonzaga Prep and Rogers football coach Dave Carson for Sunday’s paper. He was before my time at the paper, but from conversations and research, Carson was an important and historical link between legendary G-Prep coach Don Anderson and the modern version of the Bullpups.

Anderson’s teams won or shared 15 GSL championships in his 25 seasons, with two state titles in five trips. Carson continued that tradition by winning four league titles with two state semifinals in the next 10 seasons.

The story goes that Carson followed a colleague from southern California to Spokane to be an assistant at Rogers, not the first and certainly not the last SoCal transplant to end up calling the Inland Northwest home.

The big hole in my resume as the current chronicler of high school sports in the area is that I am also a transplant, and I end up learning about these important figures to Spokane high school sports when they leave us.

Sometimes a history lesson comes too late.