Kicker Jake Miller accepted his share of blame in Central Valley’s 13-12 non-league loss to Post Falls. But he gets the lion’s share of credit in Friday’s huge 34-31 victory over Ferris.
Not only did he kick what proved to be the winning field goal from 50 yards, but also he made a 45-yarder earlier in the game. Miller averaged 50 yards on five punts, including a 70-yarder that put Ferris in an early hole and a 55-yarder that left the Saxons with long field in its bid to rally in the game’s final minute.
He also pooched a successful on-side kick that he recovered, enabling CV to run off extra time following the second field goal, booted three kickoffs into the end zone and almost converted on a fake punt.
“For him to do that … ,” said coach Rick Giampietri, “he was coming off a real downer the week before.”
Miller was flawless against the Saxons. At 6-foot-4 or 5 and still growing, said his coach, he will only get more powerful once in college.
“He’s a 3.8 student who wants to go into pre-medicine,” said Giampietri. “He’s going to a school somewhere and in the meantime be a kicker.”
Last year Miller punted only, place kicking behind Blaze Vela. During one practice, said Giampietri, Vela kicked a 57-yard field goal with a slight trailing wind. Miller, up next, duplicated it.
“I told myself, ‘I’ve got the two best kickers in the state right here,’ ” Giampietri said.
That’s why he didn’t hesitate sending Miller out for the 50-yard field goal try against Ferris, and said he would have even if it had been a bit longer.
“He has a great leg. In practice he hit a 55-yarder. The wind was quiet (at Albi), and I felt he at least had a shot.”
The shot heard around the GSL.
Doin’ the math
When all is said and done in Greater Spokane League football, Mead and University will have played nine games, with the other teams eight.
The extra games accommodate the split 4A-3A league schedule. For playoff purposes the extra game is of no advantage to either team.
For instance, if they finish 7-2 or 6-3 and other 4A teams are 6-2 or 5-3, teams will be considered tied based either on identical numbers of wins or losses.
Then, this tiebreaker formula applies: Head-to-head record; wins against like-classification teams; quality wins (beating a higher-placing opponent). If multiple ties can’t be resolved then teams will play a mini game.
Central Valley (6-0) needs one win to clinch the GSL’s No. 1 4A postseason berth. The Bears have a two-game lead with two to go, but, as Giampietri said Friday night, “it’s not easy ahead of us. Gonzaga Prep is going to be a handful and Mead’s going to be a handful.”
Mead, after knocking off Gonzaga Prep on Friday, and University are 5-2 and play this week. Ferris and Gonzaga Prep are both 4-2.
Three teams advance to state play-in games against the Columbia Basin Big Nine and any of the five can qualify with as many as four finishing tied. The final two weeks will sort things out.
District cross country
The postseason begins for distance runners tomorrow at Plante’s Ferry Park with the combined District 8 4A-3A meet, girls at 4 p.m. with boys to follow.
All five 3A boys and girls teams and three 4A boys and girls teams, plus nine additional individuals each qualify for regional against the CBBN, Oct. 30 at Wandermere Golf Course. The Friday date is a departure from the typical Saturday regional meet.
For the fourth straight year, University is the regular-season GSL slowpitch softball champion, and will host a district playoff semifinal against Lewis and Clark. Central Valley is the other semifinalist, and will host Ferris. Both games will be played today.
Ferris beat Shadle Park, while Lewis and Clark beat host North Central in first-round loser-out games Monday.
The championship will be played Thursday at the home of the highest remaining seed. U-Hi has won the previous three league titles. All games are at 4 p.m.
GSL basketball has changed its schedule to allow for true non-league games. Shadle Park, Lewis and Clark and Ferris will be part of a powerhouse Holiday Showcase, Dec. 28-30 at Spokane Falls Community College. Other teams are Lake City, plus Kentridge, Curtis and Foss from the Tacoma-area hoops hotbed.
Wrestlers at Mead
Winter sports don’t begin until November, but wrestling fans can get an early fix when North Idaho holds its Red and Gray intrasquad match tomorrow at Mead.
The fund raiser begins with the popular “Sumo Suit” competition at 6:45 p.m., followed at 7 by the match. Cost to attend is $2.