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Greg Lee (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga Prep football team fights through adversity

They’re teaching Adversity 101 at Gonzaga Prep this fall. And it appears it’s become a college-level class.

One of the first Bullpups to sign up for the class was senior quarterback Shane Schmidlkofer. He knew something was wrong with his throwing shoulder when he tried tossing the kicking tee to the ball boy in the Bullpups’ season opener.

Schmidlkofer, who also handles kicking duties, engaged a Shadle Park player during a kickoff. Something didn’t feel right.

“My dad was watching and he could tell something was wrong because the tee didn’t make it halfway to the kid,” Schmidlkofer said. “It landed near his feet.”

Schmidlkofer talked to the team’s trainer. He tried moving his shoulder and felt popping and clicking. But he tried to play one more series.

“I came out and I turned white. I thought I was going to throw up,” Schmidlkofer said.

It was determined Schmidlkofer had a Level 2 separation. He was told it takes anywhere from six to eight weeks to recover.

“There was no way I was going to sit out that long,” said Schmidlkofer, who also plays basketball and soccer. “I made a goal. I wanted to be back in three weeks.”

He missed by a week. He returned in Week 4 when the Bullpups played Rogers.

“The coaches wanted to hold me out one more week, but I made my voice clear. I wanted to play,” he said.

Schmidlkofer probably returned a week too soon. He experienced considerable soreness, and he continues to go to therapy before school and frequently after practice.

“I fell and landed on the shoulder (against Rogers) and it swelled up awfully bad,” he said. “The trainer thought the (AC joint) probably popped out and went back in immediately. It wasn’t as bad as the first time.”

Schmidlkofer doesn’t have full range of motion and he can’t throw.

“I couldn’t throw before the injury,” he said, laughing.

Throwing has never been part of the pedigree of G-Prep QBs anyway.

G-Prep coach Dave McKenna and his offensive assistants decided to continue with the Wildcat formation that has sparked senior running back Bishop Sankey’s assault on Greater Spokane League records. Schmidlkofer was moved to wingback last week against Central Valley and he also split out at wide receiver.

The question now is whether the Bullpups will return to the veer with Schmidlkofer.

The Bullpups, at 5-1, find themselves still in the hunt for the league title. In a season of seemingly non-stop adversity, G-Prep suffered another blow when they lost senior defensive end/fullback Charlie Hopkins to a knee injury last week.

Other Bullpups have suffered concussions and assorted injuries.

“It’s alarming to me,” McKenna said. “I’m more concerned with the kids’ psychological approach than anything else. They work so hard to have it taken away so quickly. I just keep telling them it’s life lessons. That’s what I’m hoping they’ll take from this. I hope we can stay healthy and make a little run at the deal.”

An element of surprise has been created to a certain degree.

“Right now we’re in a good position to make teams play to us instead of us playing to them,” Schmidlkofer said. “Teams will have to prepare for every offense we can run.”

Schmidlkofer would like to return to QB. McKenna is just glad that Schmidlkofer is back no matter what his role.

“He will continue to be heavily involved in our offense,” McKenna said. “Where? That’s to be determined. Having him back is huge for us. He’s our inspirational leader.”