Mt. Spokane made school football history with a classic example of ball control.
Two touchdown drives that consumed more than a quarter’s worth of time produced the Wildcats’ 35-28 victory – the program’s first win over Lewis and Clark.
The Thursday evening victory – the Wildcats’ second win in a row – at Albi Stadium left them 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Greater Spokane League. They have a chance to make further history with three games remaining against fellow 3A foes.
Mt. Spokane has never had an eight-win season.
“Hopefully, we can get that,” slot back Colten Williams said.
Prior to this year Williams was known mostly for his receiving. He bulled and slashed his way to 235 yards on 27 carries and a couple of touchdowns against LC (3-3, 2-3). Quarterback Travis Ward added to the Wildcats’ 319 yard ground attack, scored a TD and passed for two more. He had an efficient 11-for-13 passing night.
That, coupled with a dominant second quarter of defense, when the Wildcats limited the Tigers to 10 yards on six plays, helped them take momentum after twice playing catch-up.
It wasn’t so much Williams’ ability to find seams and run in space as it was his determination in short-yardage situations. Numerous times his churning legs moved an entire pile of defenders upfield turning seemingly nothing into 4-yard gains or more.
“Toward the end of the half of the Ferris game I showed myself I could run harder than I could juking and jiving and I come out with that mentality now,” he said. “I can juke, but now I try to run through tackles more.”
Points came in a hurry at the outset, with three touchdowns scored in less than 6 minutes as LC built a 14-7 lead. Levi Taylor, who had all 139 yards of the Tigers’ rushing offense, scored twice, the first on a 37-yard burst around the right side. Williams answered quickly with a 77-yard scamper.
Then the Wildcats began their time-management clinic with several 5-plus minute marches. The first covered 76 yards to tie the score at 14. The second came up empty, but was a prelude to Ward’s 29-yard laser to Nate Blackham for a 21-14 halftime lead.
A missed scoring opportunity on the first drive after intermission and costly penalty helped Taylor to his third touchdown. The key play was a brilliant pass catch for 29 yards by Dakota Dubois.
Mt. Spokane had the football for most of the rest of the game, covering 69 and 72 yards for a two-touchdown lead. Ward was involved in every play and Williams all but the final score, a 10-yard pass to Chip Propp.
“At that point of the game we had to eat up some clock and were able to have success running the football,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “They were probably surprised at our ability to run the ball as we were that they were able to run the ball. Colten has a special gear around contact.”
McLaughlin said he wasn’t sure whether Mt. Spokane had beaten LC before it was announced.
“I know they beat us a lot,” he said. “If that’s true, enough is enough. Our emphasis on the game, honestly, was getting that fourth win and staying at the top of the standings or close to them.”