Now the Shadle Park Highlanders can talk seriously about the possibility of postseason.
The Highlanders posted a big win – and just the third in third-year coach Alan Stanfield’s stint at Shadle – with a convincing 30-7 decision over the Mt. Spokane Wildcats in a Greater Spokane League football game Friday at Joe Albi Stadium.
Playing what Stanfield called the best defense in his three seasons, Shadle (2-3) stymied Mt. Spokane (1-4) in every way. And, the sloppy Wildcats hurt themselves.
The Highlanders showed no signs of such a telling win going into the game. After all, they were coming off a 48-35 loss to University two weeks ago and a 57-19 spanking administered by league-leading Gonzaga Prep last week.
“That’s what happens when you lose the turnover battle,” Stanfield said of the last two weeks. “Against U-Hi it basically cost us the game. We’re 2-0 in the games we’ve won the turnover battle and we’re 0-3 in the games we’ve lost them. Our defense did an awesome job creating them. We had a really good plan.”
Stanfield said the Highlanders have been close to a breakthrough on defense.
“Although the stats wouldn’t show it we’ve had nine or 10 guys playing good defense but we have that one guy that breaks down,” Stanfield said. “It’s not the one guy every time, but it makes it look worse than it actually has been.”
The Highlanders displayed the most balance they’ve had all season. Although they’ll never have equal passing and rushing yards – not with ultra-talented sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien – Shadle is striving to pick up about 5 yards a rush.
Rypien completed 23 of 38 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns. The Highlanders rushed for 149 yards on 34 attempts. Stanley Renz led with 75 on 14 carries.
Mt. Spokane struggled all game on offense. The Wildcats put the ball on the ground nine times, losing four.
Shadle placekicker Cameron Evans kicked three field goals of 43, 27 and 30 yards.
“We’re a good football team when we play like we can,” Stanfield said. “We have one 3A game left against North Central in two weeks. That will be huge. But we’re not going to start prepping for that because we have Mead (next week).”