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G-Prep running back Griffin Hare tries to fend off Logan Ellsworth. (Jesse Tinsley)

G-Prep pulls away twice to take play-in victory

If it seemed that the Gonzaga Prep football team had to win twice Friday, well your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.

After scoring on their first play of the second half, the Bullpups appeared to be well on their way to a commanding win in a 4A play-in game against the visiting Chiawana Riverhawks.

Then during a frenetic 5-minute span, the Riverhawks rallied within a touchdown at 35-28 with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter.

All of a sudden it was a game again. But only briefly, as Gonzaga Prep pulled away again, this time for good, in a convincing 55-28 victory.

G-Prep (9-1) stays at home and will take on Union of Vancouver (7-3) next week. Union beat Graham-Kapowsin 39-22 on Friday.

For the second straight week, senior quarterback Zach Bonneau rushed for more than 300 yards – a first by a Greater Spokane League athlete. And for a second consecutive week, the Bullpups rushed for more than 600 yards – also believed to be a first.

The best news for G-Prep, though, is it won. Last week, all the Bullpups’ yards went for naught in a 37-35 loss to Central Valley.

“We were a little unfocused last week,” said Bonneau, who scored on runs of 37, 80, 51 and 20 (309 yards, 19 carries) while completing the lone pass he attempted, a 59-yard throw to Jordan Rathbone, for another TD. “I’ve got to give all the credit to CV. “

Bonneau wasn’t alone either. His faithful sidekick, senior running back Griffin Hare, scored on runs of 67 and 76 yards while piling up 252 yards on 20 attempts.

The eyes of the Bullpups’ runners were as big as dinner plates when they got to the line of scrimmage.

“First of all, I know it sounds (cliché), but I’ve got to give it to my (offensive) line,” Bonneau said. “Those five guys did an unreal job tonight executing all their blocks. When I don’t give the ball to Griffin, I get to keep it or give it to one of our wings. We all have the threat to take it deep every play.”

Bonneau darted all over the field on G-Prep’s first play of the third quarter, leaving a handful of Riverhawks chasing him on the 80-yard score.

That put G-Prep ahead 28-7. And that was the start of six straight TDs – three by each team – as Chiawana pulled with 35-28.

The Bullpups regrouped, and young Chiawana – which doesn’t start a senior on defense – didn’t have an answer.

“He runs very, very hard,” G-Prep coach Dave McKenna said of Bonneau. “And he’s got a wiggle about him that’s tough to bring down. But it’s the other nine guys and (Grif), too. They mesh together so well.”

The Bullpups impressed Chiawana coach Steve Graff.

“We just didn’t tackle,” Graff said. “And they didn’t turn it over any. We needed to get some turnovers. We were pretty happy – we made them punt six times.”

After piling up 626 last week, the Bullpups finished with 602 against Chiawana (6-4).