At first, it seemed like a track meet broke out on the Albi Stadium turf.
Mt. Spokane quarterback Stu Stiles and Gonzaga Prep quarterback Kevin Thomas traded long runs in the first half, but after halftime the Wildcats defense stymied G-Prep’s Bullpups en route to a 45-35 Greater Spokane League football win.
“We knew that they would be highly motivated, and we were highly motivated simply for the opportunity to play in a high-intensity game, which this was,” said Mt. Spokane coach Mike McLaughlin. “We wanted to come out and play well and have some fun, and we did.”
Stiles rushed 31 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 7 of 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown to go with one early interception.
Thomas ran the ball 10 times for 136 yards for the Bullpups.
The loss means G-Prep’s game next week against Central Valley is for a berth in the 4A postseason.
Also with the G-Prep loss, the Ferris Saxons have clinched a postseason berth.
Mt. Spokane starting running back Roy Hyatt limped off the field early in the second quarter Friday night and didn’t return. But his teammates filled the void.
“If somebody goes out, somebody else steps in,” McLaughlin said. “Zach Vogel made some big plays in Roy’s place. The offense doesn’t change, it’s just another face.”
Mt. Spokane senior Reed Siclair turned in 104 yards rushing on 13 carries, and fullback Mike Schupp ran six times and scored two touchdowns.
Mt. Spokane took an early lead thanks to a gift from Thomas when the senior fumbled in his own end zone. Linebacker Jacob Yedica recovered for Mt. Spokane, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
The Bullpups followed up, though, on their next drive by going 73 yards in nine plays, capping it off with a 20-yard touchdown run by Nick Johnson.
The teams traded touchdowns throughout the first half and went into the intermission tied at 28.
In the second half, Mt. Spokane’s defense dominated, holding G-Prep scoreless until a Bullpups touchdown as time expired.
“I thought the second half (the defense) played outstanding,” McLaughlin said. “First half was tough. Getting into a shootout game like that is hard.”
Things went Mt. Spokane’s way in the second half.
G-Prep fumbled on its first drive, which turned into a 33-yard field goal by Tyler Gyllenhammer.
Mt. Spokane forced G-Prep into three punts in the second half after the Bullpups didn’t punt in the first half.
Mt. Spokane also took advantage of a late-hit penalty after Stiles picked up a 49-yard gain. The 15-yard penalty helped Mt. Spokane, leading by three points at the time, extend its drive, which ended in a Stiles 18-yard touchdown run.
From there, another G-Prep punt took the wind out of the Bullpups’ sails.
Schupp’s 1-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining clinched the game for the Wildcats.