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Mead's Austin Stone attempts a catch against Mt. Spokane's Zach Stensland (3) on Friday night at Albi Stadium. (Jesse Tinsley)

Unbeaten Mead hold off Wildcats’ game effort

The Mt. Spokane Wildcats didn’t get the email informing them they were decisive underdogs Friday against district rival Mead.

The Wildcats made a huge defensive stand at the end of the first half to take a 7-6 lead into halftime before a season-high crowd of 12,568 Friday at Joe Albi Stadium.

But Mead, which owned most of the statistical advantages except the scoreboard in the first half, got untracked in the final two quarters in the Battle of the Bell, scoring three straight touchdowns in one stretch for a hard-fought 32-21 win in a Greater Spokane League football game.

The Barlow twins accounted for Mead’s five TDs with Darian hauling in touchdown passes of 46 and 48 yards and sprinting for another on a 31-yard play and Davian scoring on runs of 1 and 6 yards.

Davian said the Panthers (4-0) didn’t overlook the Wildcats (1-3).

“This is the Battle for the Bell. This is what we live for,” Davian said. “They came out with fire and intensity. We just got it in our mind all weak that they were a weaker team, but they came out and did what they were supposed to do. They came out hard, all cylinders going so we had to come and match that intensity in the second half.”

Mead took the lead at 12-7 on the first series of the second half. But Mt. Spokane, behind a 16-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Daniel Munoz to Dillon Madlender, regained the lead one more time at 14-12 with 4:32 to go in the third quarter.

That’s when the Panthers asserted control. Darian scored twice on the nicely thrown balls from quarterback Gunnar Kayser and his brother added another TD as Mead took a 32-14 lead.

Mt. Spokane’s final TD came when Munoz executed a boot leg to perfection on a 3-yard run , pulling the Wildcats within the final margin with 17 seconds remaining.

“It all starts with our offensive line giving Gunnar time to sit back and throw those balls,” Darian said.

His brother had a game-high 169 yards rushing on 22 carries.

On its first possession of the game, Mead had 11 plays before stalling at Mt. Spokane’s 47-yard line.

Mt. Spokane turned its 11-play first series into a touchdown when Munoz scored from 3 yards out with 7:41 to go in the opening quarter.

Mead scored when it took advantage of a Mt. Spokane fumble at the Wildcats’ 8. Panthers defensive end Langston Ward recovered the turnover.

Two plays later, Davian Barlow, who had 109 yards rushing in the first half, scored from a yard out. Mead’s two-point conversion attempt failed.

Now the Panthers turn their attention to a showdown with the league’s other undefeated team, Gonzaga Prep (4-0) next Thursday at Albi.

“They’re going to give us a real good run for our money,” Darian said. “They’ve got a really good quarterback in Zach Bonneau and a really good running back in Griffin Hare. I think it’s going to be a real good game, probably a game everyone is going to want to come out to see in the GSL at least.”