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Ferris holds on for No. 1 berth

Ferris claimed the top 4A seed from the Greater Spokane League into next week’s State football play-in games with a 21-20 victory over Mead at Albi Stadium on Thursday night.

The Saxons fumbled five times in the game, losing three, and gave up a key interception but still won.

“Any time you win a game when you have that many turnovers, you’ve accomplished something,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said.

Ferris –which will play Richland next week – pounded its first two possessions into the end zone to take a 14-0 lead while stymieing the Panthers with a pair of three-and-outs, then pouncing on a Mead fumble.

The Saxons’ first fumble came on a botched backfield exchange on the final play of the first quarter that gave the Panthers a first down at the Ferris 23.

Garrett Norris soared over both his blocker and a defender for Mead’s first touchdown, but a bad snap on the PAT attempt kept the score 14-6.

The Panthers recovered an onside kick and drove to the Ferris 23, but the drive stalled on fourth down, and the Saxons took over at their own 19.

Cole Karstetter squirmed 11 yards on first down, and on the next play Christian Olson’s pitch to Karstetter went awry and Mead recovered at the Ferris 25.

Three plays later Norris scored on a 9-yard dash, and after taking a 5-yard penalty on the PAT for having an ineligible receiver downfield, quarterback Daniel Munoz darted in from the 8 to make it 14-14.

Ferris needed just five plays to score on its opening possession of the second half. Jalen Hicks scored on a 5-yard run that put the Saxons up 21-14.

The Ferris defense forced another Mead three-and-out and took over at the Mead 48 after a short punt.

But on third-and-goal at the Mead 4, Olson tried to hit Hicks with a pass in the end zone and the Panthers’ Anthony Gold picked the ball off 2 yards deep and returned it for a touchdown.

Mead’s ultimate downfall came on the PAT. Ferris tipped the low kick and the Saxons preserved their lead.

Ferris put together a 15-play drive that should have put the game away, but stalled on fourth-and-1 at the Mead 24, and before getting off the snap on a running play, took an illegal procedure penalty and turned the ball over on downs at the 29.

Mead could not get off a field-goal attempt as time expired.