We’re two weeks into the high school football season, and the Greater Spokane League has a total of three of 16 teams undefeated– Mt. Spokane, Rogers and Shadle Park. The 4A/3A ranks are already playing league games, necessitated by the nine teams in the division, but the 2As are all playing nonleague games – and most against smaller schools.
The sole survivors, though, look for real.
As always, here are our weekly five thoughts (plus one) about the football performances across the Greater Spokane League, Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Mt. Spokane’s best players took over in the second half to lift the Wildcats (2-0) over a tough Ridgeline squad Friday night with Bode Gardner making the most of his three catches and two rushes – a combined 148 yards with two touchdowns. Matteo Saccomanno got better as the game went on and finished with 108 yards on 26 carries, much of which came in the second half.
But the big story for the Wildcats was third-string quarterback junior Alex Cloer, who hadn’t started since freshman year, stepping in with starter TJ Haberman serving a one-game suspension for an ejection penalty and backup QB Ryker Tweedy out injured.
“We threw him in there, and he handled the pressure well. I’m proud of him,” Wildcats coach Terry Cloer said. “Obviously, as my son it’s extra special, but I never wanted him to be in that situation. But he was, and he handled it well.”
The younger Cloer’s numbers might not have sparkled – he completed 9 of 20 passes for 196 yards with two TDs and two interceptions – but he grew more comfortable as the game went along and made a couple of big throws when he needed them.
Ridgeline gave Mt. Spokane everything it wanted and more. Coming off last week’s signature win over Central Valley, the Falcons were riding high. They played with confidence, controlling the game early with their quick hitch offense and stingy defense. Only a fourth-quarter blocked extra-point attempt thwarted their momentum.
QB Landon Garner completed 32 of 45 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Brayden Allen – who set GSL receiving records as a freshman – finished with 10 catches for 137 yards and two scores, including a contested one-handed grab at full sprint.
The Falcons have undergone a lot of growing pains in their first couple of seasons as the lack of an upper class has limited what coach Dave Myers could do. They’re still a little undersized in some spots, but that past two weeks they have looked like a GSL varsity football program – which is good for them, and the league.
Finding a rhythm
On Thursday night, Mead found its offense in the second half while the defense dominated throughout in a shutout win over University. Keegan Mallon carried 19 times for 132 yards, and Jimmy Frahm added 104 yards on 12 carries. The Panthers finished with 290 on the grounds and outgained U-Hi 314-153.
“We’re trying to find our identity right now and establish the run game. And I think we did that tonight,” Mead coach Keith Stamps said.
Central Valley bounced back from its opening-night loss to handle Lewis and Clark at home. A star might have been born in this one – receiver Kimoni Davis busted loose for touchdown catches of 60 and 41 yards while QB Bo Reisenauer completed 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards.
In the win column
Ferris had some difficulty in its season opener at LC last week but looked much more polished, doubling up Cheney at home. Junior QB John Olson threw six touchdown passes, two to Fareed Lawal in the first half, to lead a strong offensive showing.
“This was the kind of game we needed to have,” first-year coach Jerrall Haynes said. “When you are a rebuilding program and you are trying to grow and grow together as a team, you need a game like this.”
Rogers went to Idaho to take on physical Grangeville and came home with a 34-18 win and 2-0 record for the first time in a long time. The Pirates were paced by Aaron Kinsey, who had three rushing TDs, one passing, and more than 100 yards rushing.
Shadle Park joined the other undefeated teams in the league with a 33-23 win at home over 1A Riverside. The Highlanders’ offense has put up 30-plus points in both of its wins .
Gem state update
Post Falls went on a long road trip to Sunnyside, Washington, and came home with a 41-35 nonleague loss. Previously unbeaten Lakeland suffered injuries to a couple of key players and had trouble moving the ball in a 21-10 loss to West Valley.