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Gonzaga Prep clinches at least tie for title

Players and coaches talked about chemistry after Gonzaga Prep clinched no worse than a tie for the Greater Spokane League football title, but the way the Bullpups dispatched Mt. Spokane on Friday night was a lesson in biology.

G-Prep (8-0) dissected the Wildcats (1-7) for 295 yards rushing on the ground – starting the game with four runs of 12 or more yards – and sandwiched halftime around pick-6s by linebacker Steven Machtolf and Sam Dowd to roll to a 32-3 win over the visiting Wildcats.

“It’s incredible, there’s not a better feeling,” G-Prep senior defensive back Blair Beschel said. “We have the chemistry, this brotherhood that can’t be broken. We have this bond, it’s truly amazing.”

“I’m so proud of these kids,” coach Dave McKenna said after G-Prep clinched the top seed into the 4A playoffs before the regular-season finale next week at Central Valley. “It’s a great thing for our program, it’s a great thing for our school, it’s a great thing for our community. These kids talked about it. I hope they enjoy the moment. These don’t come around very often.”

There wasn’t much doubt the Bullpups would wrap up their first title since 2006 when they ripped off runs of 13, 12 16 and 18 yards before stalling out. However, their next three possessions produced touchdowns, a 12-yarder from Griffin Hare, a 49-yarder by quarterback Zach Bonneau and then Hare again, going 17 yards.

Then, on basically the last play of the first half, Machtolf returned an interception 52 yards down the right sideline and Dowd duplicated that on the first possession of the second half, going 40 yard to cap Prep’s scoring.

Hare finished with 173 yards on 18 carries, Bonneau 79 on 13 against the banged up Wildcats, who started three sophomores on defense and a fourth, Daniel Munoz, at quarterback.

“The first half was great,” McKenna said. “Defensively, we played extremely well. We’ll have to play better (offensively) than we did in the second half. … We played well at times and then we took a couple of downs off.”

Munoz was all the Wildcats could offer on offense, but he paid a price by running 20 times for 91 yards, getting knocked out of the game on the last play of the third quarter. He was tackled inside the 15, which set up a 32-yard field goal by Tucker Jones in the first minute of the fourth quarter.