In a word, wild.
In another word, unprecedented.
Shadle Park junior quarterback Brett Rypien had another mind-dazzling night, becoming the first 11-man Washington football player to throw for more than 600 yards Thursday night, as the Highlanders knocked off Greater Spokane League-leading Mt. Spokane 63-42 at Joe Albi Stadium.
Rypien completed 44 of 59 passes for 613 yards and eight touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown, accounting for all of the Highlanders’ scoring.
The 613 eclipses the single-game GSL record Rypien set last year when he threw for 577 in an overtime loss to Central Valley.
Most important, though, the Highlanders secured tiebreaking criteria over Mt. Spokane should the teams finished tied. That would give Shadle the top 3A postseason seed.
As usual, Rypien spread the praise around – crediting the nine different teammates who caught passes and the five linemen who kept a stout Mt. Spokane defensive line out of his face.
Shadle coach Alan Stanfield knew how many yards Rypien had midway in the fourth quarter. After Rypien completed his final pass – a 14-yard hook up with Skyler Kelley – Stanfield pulled Rypien with about 3 minutes to go.
“That’s pretty crazy,” Rypien said, when told how many yards he had.
Then Rypien talked about the critical accomplishment.
“That was the main goal coming into this game, just getting the first seed for playoffs, (and) home-field advantage is going to be huge for us,” he said. “I felt like our receivers did a great job. Coach Stanfield told us to be patient early, that we’d get our one-on-one opportunities. They can’t be covered one-on-one. They’re very good when they’re in space.”
The second half was definitely much more mellow than the first half when the teams combined for 11 touchdowns and Shadle took a 49-28 lead into halftime.
Shadle’s win forges a five-way tie for first in the loss column. One team, either Gonzaga Prep or Mead, will fall out of the logjam tonight when they meet at G-Prep.
Rypien completed 35 of 47 attempts in the first half for 480 yards.
“It felt like the first quarter was a whole football game, as many plays as we ran,” Stanfield said. “We ran out of play sheets tracking our offensive calls. It was an up-tempo game. It had the feel of the CV game last year, but we sure like playing with a lead instead of trying to come from behind the whole night.”
The game started to get away from Mt. Spokane after the Wildcats pulled within 21-14 with 2:46 left in the first quarter.
Rypien threw four TD passes to Tanner Pauly, three to Nick Kiourkas and one to Cam Duty.
Pauly finished with 10 receptions for 243 yards, Duty had 12 for 115 and Kiourkas ended with nine for 122.
“We felt like it was going to be tough to run between the tackles,” Stanfield said. “They’re big up front and they’ve got some good kids there. For us, our little quick screens and bubbles are like the run game. We felt if we could get the ball on the perimeter, in space and down the field we were going to have a lot of opportunities. We do want to be more balanced with the run, but we felt this was a week we could go with the pass until it failed us.”
And, oh, by the way, it didn’t fail the Highlanders.
What did 613 mean to Rypien?
“It means we were getting a lot of looks where we could pass the ball and not run the ball,” he said. “If the run-look was there we were going to run it, if the pass-look was there we were going to pass it.”
Rypien said he had a feeling it could be a special night.
“They play man-to-man coverage and they came out and dropped eight,” he said. “We hit them with a couple of quick screens underneath and they switched to like a man coverage with no safeties over the top. And we won the one-on-one battles every single time.”