Although it originally wasn’t planned that way, Cusick’s Spencer Shanholtzer made an immediate splash at quarterback in 8-man football.
The incoming freshman had expected to be a receiver based on summer camp at Whitworth, but when the incumbent decided in the fall not to turn out, Shanholtzer found himself on the job.
“My very first play I ran 80 yards for a touchdown,” he said.
Adding a passing dimension over the years, he’s been dominant the past two and is approaching 10,000 yards of total offense over four seasons.
“His running ability is second only to his passing ability,” Cusick coach Sonny Finley said.
The strong-armed Shanholtzer admitted it’s easier to pile up yards in 8-man than 11-man football. His numbers nonetheless are heady and, he said, compiling them is “kind of a big deal.”
Cusick’s QB enters Friday night’s state quarterfinal game against Colton with 9,819 yards passing and rushing and 130 touchdowns in 44 games. Shanholtzer has completed 339 of 588 passes for 6,529 yards and 87 scores and rushed for an additional 3,290 yards on 356 carries and 43 TDs.
“He has a very strong arm and his hard-nosed, competitive nature sets him apart in the 8-man ranks,” Finley said.
At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds he’s not only quarterback for the state’s No. 1-ranked 1B team, but middle linebacker as well. Unaware he’d covered 5.6 miles of football turf by land and air during his career, Shanholtzer simply enjoys being an athlete, following the footsteps of uncles Toby, Tom and Ty.
The latter is an assistant coach of the Panthers. Toby and Tom both played for Cusick state-qualifying basketball teams in the 1980s and started at defensive back in football at Whitworth, where Spencer could wind up.
Spencer also plays on Cusick basketball teams that have finished eighth and sixth in state the last two years, and just missed state last year with baseball.
“In 8-man football the game’s so wide open, if the passing game isn’t there and if you have good feet it’s easy to pick up yards,” Spencer said. “My freshman and sophomore years I looked to run if the first (passing) read wasn’t open. The last two years our staff has done a great job teaching me the mentality of a quarterback.”
No rest for runners
Some distance runners’ work is never done. Last weekend it was Nike Cross Regionals. This week it’s Nike Border Clash.
Sunday’s Washington vs. Oregon Border Clash at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., pits 40 of the top runners from each state against each other. The boys race begins at 10 a.m., the girls race at 10:45.
Locals involved include North Central’s Alex Avila and Casey Adams; Lewis and Clark’s Kenji Bierig and Chris Ennis; Mt. Spokane’s Allan Schroeder; Mead’s Andrew Gardner and Ferris’ Tim Colliton. Girls feature Shadle Park’s Katie Morris and Kendra Weitz; NC’s Katie Knight; Mead’s Baylee Mires; LC’s Alison Keenan; Cheney’s Sanne Holland and Colfax’s Morgan Willson.
Bullpups to combine
Gonzaga Prep lineman Charlie Hopkins and back Bishop Sankey will participate in the U.S. Army National Combine, Jan. 7-9, as part of the All-American Bowl East-West Game in San Antonio, Texas.