The Shadle Park Highlanders can now check off that elusive win over a 4A team – a week after they thought it was going to happen in a wild, free-for-all against Central Valley.
Behind another first by sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien, Shadle Park topped the Lewis and Clark Tigers 31-21 Friday in a Greater Spokane League season-ender at Joe Albi Stadium.
Needing 212 yards to become the first GSL player to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, Rypien got that by halftime. He finished with 381, completing 32 of 41 with three touchdowns.
He finished league play with 3,169 yards. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly 1,000 yards (914) more than former Ferris quarterback Conner Halliday, the guy Rypien unseated at the top last week.
The top target of several receivers, junior Tanner Pauly, became just the fourth receiver to go over 1,000 yards receiving. He finished with 64 receptions for 1,110 yards.
Shadle travels to top-seeded Kennewick (6-2-1) in a 3A play-in opener Friday.
The key for Shadle (4-5) was being opportunistic twice in the second half when senior middle linebacker Cam Babcock, perhaps drawing upon his wrestling skills, came away with two fumble recoveries deep in the Highlanders’ territory.
Babcock’s first recovery came when LC (4-5) drove to Shadle’s 6-yard line with 9:45 to go. The second came at the Highlanders’ 4 moments later.
Trailing 17-14 at halftime, LC took the opening kickoff of the second half and, aided by a roughing the punter penalty, moved to Shadle’s 15 when junior running back Coleton Fitzgerald scored to give the Tigers the lead, 21-17 with 8:29 showing on the clock.
That would be LC’s last lead.
Shadle responded quickly, moving 65 yards on four straight pass plays. Rypien hit running back Stanley Renz on a swing pass and he went 49 yards to give Shadle the lead for good at 24-21.
Moments later, LC attempted a 41-yard field goal, but Brandon Collins blocked it.
That set up Shadle’s final scoring drive. The Highlanders ate up a chunk of clock, using 11 plays before Rypien hit Connor Tangeman on an 8-yard TD pass with 31 seconds to go in the third.
While both teams were scoreless in the fourth, there was plenty of action.
Shadle’s Alvin Welch finished with 10 catches for 71 yard and Skyler Kelley had five receptions for 45 yards. Babcock picked up 77 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
Fitzgerald was a workhorse for LC, gaining 193 yards on 31 carries. Quarterback Andrew Black had 94 on 17 attempts and 106 yards passing.