The Greater Spokane League tested a new Washington Interscholastic Activities Association amendment off the bat when Ferris opened the football season with a 59-0 victory over North Central.
Last spring the state’s governing high school activities body passed a rule that keeps the clock running in the second half when a football lead reaches 45 points.
Thursday night at Albi Stadium, the clock could have kept running (in fact it did so for nearly 30 seconds following a Saxons score) inside 5 minutes remaining in the first half when the Saxons scored on their sixth straight possession to take a 45-0 lead.
The victory spoiled the debut of new NC coach Brian Gardner, but provided a showcase for Washington State-bound Ferris quarterback Connor Halliday. He was 9 for 9 in the first half for 270 of his 278 passing yards and threw for four touchdowns.
His favorite target was Jason Bates, who had four catches for 142 first-half yards and finished with 154 in the game.
Halliday had completions of 42, 45 and 61 yards in the first quarter alone and a beautifully thrown 85-yarder for a score to a streaking Bates in the second. Jordan Tonani was on the receiving end of two TDs and ran back a kick return 74 yards for another following the second safety of the initial period by the Indians.
NC had a safety on its first possession and muffed the football three times on its first two possessions. Halliday scored from 8 yards out following his first pass completion to Bates.
He found Beau Bozett on the 61-yarder to make it 22-0 and following a bad punt snap that led to NC’s second safety, Tonani broke loose on the ensuing kick.
The Indians mounted two nice drives in the second quarter, but both came following quick Ferris strikes and neither produced a point despite having first-and-goal at the Saxons’ 3-yard line.
Dillon Harris grabbed a Zac Hill pass that had been deflected by a Saxons defender.
Ferris’ defense stiffened and a 23-yard field-goal attempt missed to the right just before intermission.
And so the clock kept winding mercifully in the second half, although the Saxons added two more scores.
Reserve quarterback Ben Goodwin, a sophomore, added another 81 yards of aerial attack, completing 3 of 4 passes, most on two long completions.
The first covered 33 yards to the NC 14.
The latter, of 36 yards, came on fourth down, followed three straight sacks. It went to Bozett for his second touchdown and the game’s final score with 2:18 remaining in the fast-paced second half.
With 10 juniors or sophomores starting, the Indians played gamely until the end following a jittery start.
NC’s Hill showed flashes of promise. He passed for 145 yards on 10 completions and had several more long passes dropped.
But the two-time defending GSL champions and state semifinalist Saxons ultimately proved to be too big, physical and experienced.
A full slate of GSL games is scheduled tonight.