As penalties go, this one was pretty special.
Leading by seven points with 10 seconds until halftime and Austin Rehkow lining up for a 51-yard field goal, the Central Valley Bears were whistled for delay of game.
“I looked over at the sideline and said, ‘Just keep me out there,’” Rehkow said after offensive coordinator Rick Sloan gave the go-ahead, and Rehkow responded with a 56-yard field goal, fourth longest in GSL history.
More important, it gave the Bears a 20-10 halftime lead and was the eventual winning score in their 33-17 Greater Spokane League win Friday night over Mt. Spokane.
“I was just ecstatic when it went through,” said Rehkow, who kicked four field goals on the night to tie former CV and NFL star Mike Hollis for the GSL career record with 19.
Rehkow also averaged 55 yards on four punts, keeping Mt. Spokane pinned in its own territory for most of the second half.
The Bears improved to 2-1 despite falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter as Mt. Spokane quarterback Danial Munoz led two early scoring drives.
“We didn’t have our mindset and we weren’t hustling the way we usually do,” CV defensive tackle Shawn Buck said.
But the Bears adjusted, eventually forcing six turnovers – none bigger than defensive back Michael Butler’s third-quarter interception that set up Grayson Sykes’ 2-yard touchdown run that boosted the lead to 27-10.
“It was a simple screen play and I read it,” Butler said. “It was a nice lofting pass and I went in there and grabbed it.”
It was Sykes’ second TD of the game and came on the heels of a four-TD performance last week against Rogers.
Munoz, who finished with a game-high 128 rushing yards, responded with an 80-yard touchdown run to cut the gap to 27-17.
But after a Central Valley punt, Buck recovered a fumble on a bad handoff and ran 10 yards to set up Rehkow’s third field goal, a 40-yarder that made it 30-17 early in the fourth quarter.
On its first possession, Mt. Spokane needed just seven plays to march 80 yards, with Munoz scoring from 13 yards on third-and 11. Munoz shook off a tackle at the line of scrimmage, then cut inside and ran untouched into the end zone with 9:13 left in the first quarter.
After CV went three and out, the Wildcats took over on their 1-yard-line, but Munoz dashed 21 yards, then Zach Stensland dashed 55 yards before being pulled down from behind at the EV 23. But the Bears’ defense stiffened, and the Wildcats settled for Spencer Cole’s 32-yard field goal with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Still leading 10-0, Mt. Spokane got the ball back at its 37, but a bad center snap forced a punt. From their 27, the Bears needed just five plays to get on the board, with Sykes running off tackle almost untouched 35 yards for the score.
The Wildcats, 1-2, fumbled on their next offensive play, with the Bears’ Zach Millard to set up Scott Hilpert’s 16-yard pass to Brandon McClung down the left sideline, which put the Bears ahead for good, 14-10, with 6:49 until halftime.
CV faces North Central on Thursday at Albi Stadium at 6:15 p.m. Mt. Spokane hosts Mead on Friday at 8 p.m.