The Ferris/Central Valley football game, a showdown between Greater Spokane League heavyweights, lived up to its billing Friday.
It came down to a matter of patience, and the defending State 4A champion Saxons showed the most patience before a standing-room only crowd at CV.
After taking the lead for good late in the third quarter, No. 1-ranked Ferris turned to its clock-eating double-wing offensive set, pulling away for a 28-10 decision in a game that should have had a tighter final margin.
“We stayed real patient and made plays down the stretch,” said Ferris coach Jim Sharkey, whose team won for a 19th straight time dating back to 2009.
Sharkey’s son, Drew, a combination quarterback/fullback/defensive end, agreed.
“Our defense really stepped up and their defense is really good,” he said. “So we really had to be patient and let things happen.”
The eighth-ranked Bears (4-1) were formidable in the first half, especially on defense.
“They had an answer for everything that we had in the first half,” the Saxons’ Ben Goodwin, a combination quarterback/running back/wide receiver/defensive back, said.
So when the Bears came out and didn’t get anything going in the second half after taking a 10-7 into intermission, CV coach Rick Giampietri was concerned.
When Ferris (5-0) took the lead for good at 14-10 late in the third period when running back Kole Heidinger leaped into the end zone from 4 yards out, Giampietri knew what was coming next.
And the Bears didn’t have an answer for the Saxons’ ballcontrol offense in the fourth quarter.
Ferris got the ball back with 9:25 remaining and proceeded to use its double-wing formation on six straight plays when Heidinger popped out of a midfield scrum and sprinted 53 yards to put the Saxons ahead 21-10.
Then on CV’s next possession, a sack by Damon Unland pinned the Bears at their 2-yard line and they had to punt.
Ferris needed a big play moments later on third-and-8 at midfield, and Sharkey threw a jump ball to the 18 that receiver Cole Lemer pulled down. The game was essentially over although the Saxons tacked on a final TD.
“We had a couple of three-and-outs to start the second half and the defense played well the first two series,” Giampietri said. “Then they just got it rolling. It’s a shame. It was a lot closer game than the score indicates.”
The Bears limited the Saxons to 74 yards total offense in the first half.
Ferris, which punted a season-high six times, looked more like the team picked to win the GSL the final 19 minutes.
“We just didn’t have field position (first half) and they made some good plays,” Jim Sharkey said. “We had to make some adjustments. There was no panic in our locker room at all. The kids knew it was a great game at half. We expected it and we expect it the next four (games).”
Drew Sharkey knew the fourth quarter would belong to the Saxons.
“It’s (the double wing) a great formation when you get the right guys,” he said. “If they press it hard you can pop one, and you can grind them until their dead.”
“It wears on a team, but I think a lot of it has to do with our conditioning and just the way we play football,” Goodwin said.