The defining moment of University football coach Rob Bartlett’s rookie season wasn’t just that his Titans defeated Ferris for the first time in memory, but how thoroughly they administered the 21-0 upset.
U-Hi (4-4) was particularly dominant on defense in Friday night’s Greater Spokane League game against a Saxons team that had but a single loss before traveling to Spokane Valley.
Defenders were for the most part able to sniff out anything Ferris tried on offense. There were times when the defensive front simply bowled over Ferris offensive linemen. The secondary picked off a pair of passes. And the visitors didn’t help themselves by losing two fumbles, but that proved a wash because the Titans more than returned the favor, losing three.
“Coach (Cajun) Smith just put together a phenomenal plan,” Bartlett said of his defensive coordinator. “Our offenses are so similar there were some things we thought we could do and the kids just followed the game plan to a ‘T.’ ”
Two-way standout Adrian Bonner said that plan was to play man defense, stay home and do the job.
“That’s what we tried to do and got a shutout,” the 5-foot-8 (maybe), 160-pound bull of a runner said.
Bonner picked off a pass early in the fourth quarter that turned the game. The Saxons were trailing 7-0, but had moved quickly to the Titans’ 15-yard line on quarterback Christian Olson’s 33-yard pass and run to Beau Lockmer.
Three plays later, Bonner had his interception and U-Hi covered 70 yards in eight plays capped by Bonner’s spinning, twisting, balance-keeping, 27-yard ballet.
He capped things 5 ½ minutes later with a bullish 15-yard score, seemingly hauling the entire Saxons defense with him.
“I saw the end zone and went into beast mode,” he said.
The teams battled to a stalemate in the first half when they had trouble hanging onto the football. But a 13-yard Ferris punt with 1 minute, 11 seconds until intermission gave U-Hi an opportunity and broke the scoreless tie in two plays.
A run by Bonner preceded quarterback Jeff Beaty’s 24-yard TD pass to Austin Flynn.
The Titans otherwise stuck to the ground as Bonner and Beaty both approached 100 yards. Ferris managed just 67 yards rushing and 169 total yards in the game.
“We played some smash-mouth football tonight,” Bartlett said. “We wanted to out-physical them.”