The first quarter was a head-scratcher for Mt. Spokane football coach Mike McLaughlin.
McLaughlin’s Wildcats didn’t look anything like a challenger for one of the two 3A play-in berths in the Greater Spokane League.
Mt. Spokane got untracked in the second quarter Friday, and the result over the course of the final three periods was five straight touchdowns, as the Wildcats pulled away from the North Central Indians 35-18 at Joe Albi Stadium.
North Central parlayed a fast start into a 12-0 lead. The hole the Wildcats found themselves in could have been worse.
“It was probably as bad a scripted first quarter as we could have imagined,” McLaughlin said. “I was very surprised by it. But like I said, we got knocked down but we got off the mat and played pretty well the next three quarters.”
At various points in the first half, NC and Mt. Spokane played like challengers for a postseason berth. And at various points, they both struggled mightily.
The Wildcats, though, sustained consistent play for the longest stretch.
Junior quarterback Stu Stiles helped orchestrate Mt. Spokane’s turnaround. He rushed for one touchdown and threw for two others. He finished with 145 yards on 21 attempts and completed 10 of 13 attempts for 80 yards.
A 1-yard TD run by Zach Stensland allowed Mt. Spokane to take a 14-12 lead into halftime.
“At halftime we were very fortunate to be ahead,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t know how we were ahead, but we were. About everything that could go wrong in the first quarter did go wrong.”
Junior quarterback Jake Hoffman led NC with 81 yards rushing and had two receptions for 84 to go with 53 yards passing.