The Shadle Park football team wants to party like its 1999.
OK, lugging out that old song lyric borders on cliché. And, truthfully, the Highlanders aren’t celebrating anything except maybe their most recent victory.
There’s still work in the form of three remaining games before Shadle can celebrate its first Greater Spokane League championship since 1999.
Shadle coach Alan Stanfield refused to look past this week when the Highlanders meet North Central on Thursday.
“We’ve got to keep it week to week. Next week’s homecoming,” Stanfield said.
A few moments later, though, Stanfield acknowledged what could happen.
“It’s in the math,” Stanfield said of a possible share of the league title. “We control our own fate. Going out to Central Valley (in two weeks) will be tough obviously and homecoming will be fun, but it’s always a distraction. We’ve got to stay focused and keep doing what’s got us here.”
What could happen – let me be clear, what SHOULD happen – is the present three-way tie for first between Shadle, Gonzaga Prep and Ferris, all at 5-1, should conclude as a three-way tie.
Each team has at least one challenging game left. After NC, Shadle goes to CV (4-2) and ends with Lewis and Clark (2-4).
Defending league champ G-Prep has Rogers (0-6) on Thursday before finishing with Mt. Spokane (4-2) and CV, which knocked off the Bullpups last year in the regular-season finale.
Ferris takes on LC on Friday before concluding with University (1-5) and Mead (3-3).
“How it’s set up is if we win the next two I think we’re in pretty good shape for the playoffs, which is the first goal,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “Win all three and win at least a share of the league title.”
Shadle is easily averaging the most points in the GSL, scoring at a 42.3-point-clip per game.
That includes the 14 points the Highlanders had in the loss to Ferris. Since then, Shadle has scored 40, 42, 63 and 33 points.
Shadle’s offense sputtered at times against Mead, which came into the game with the highest-ranked defense.
“Our tempo wasn’t as fast as it was (the week before) and we talked about it at halftime,” Stanfield said. “Mead is a defense that we’ve always struggled against. We had two three-and-outs in the first half, but when we started going faster it helped us and it got them on their heels.”
CV is still very much in the chase for a 4A postseason berth.
If the Bears win out, including a victory over G-Prep the final week like they did last year, they would knock the Bullpups out and earn a berth. Last year CV came up a win short of the playoffs.
There’s no room for error, though. The Bears face back-to-back home games with Mead and Shadle before meeting G-Prep.
That’s the toughest finishing stretch for any team in league.
• Despite losing three in a row, Mead hasn’t been mathematically eliminated. But the Panthers must win out and get some help.
Mead’s final three are CV, Rogers and Ferris.
Here’s how things are shaping up in the Mid-Columbia Conference.
Chiawana (6-0, 5-0) has all but locked up the top 4A seed and Richland (5-1, 4-1) should grab the second.
In 3A, Kamiakin (4-2, 2-2) should be the top 3A seed, Southridge (4-2, 2-2) should be the second and Hanford (2-4, 1-3) and Kennewick (1-5, 0-4) play this week to decide the third berth.
• Chiawana travels to Lake City and Richland goes to Post Falls on Friday. No doubt GSL coaches will scout those games.