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Eight just enough

Ferris crowds defensive backfield to stymie Rypien, Shadle

Ferris pulled out a game plan from the 2010 state championship football game Thursday.

The Saxons used a three-man front and dropped eight into coverage to slow down the usually prolific Brett Rypien, Shadle Park’s junior quarterback.

The plan – used successfully against Skyline in 2010 – worked magnificently, and the Saxons wore down the Highlanders 38-14 in a Greater Spokane League football game played in stifling hot conditions late Thursday afternoon at Joe Albi Stadium.

Senior defensive back/running back Cole Karstetter had plenty of reasons to smile afterward. He gained 124 yards rushing, caught a touchdown pass and picked off a pass he returned 47 yards for a touchdown. But it was this number – 131 – that pleased Karstetter the most.

Ferris limited Rypien, who passed for 323 yards in the first half last week against Rogers, to 131. He completed 19 of 40 attempts. Rypien didn’t crack 100 until early in the fourth quarter.

“Our defense was really on point,” Karstetter said. “Having that extra (defensive back) in there was important. It was awesome to shut down their passing game.”

The interception was Karstetter’s fifth in his career.

And it was a momentum changer. Shadle had trimmed the Saxons’ lead to 14-7.

“Cole’s pick-six was really big when we were struggling offensively,” said Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “They had the momentum. A two-score game against these guys is … It was all the defense.”

Karstetter’s break on Rypien’s pass was perfect. He stumbled and batted the ball but gathered himself to make the catch, and then he was off.

“I batted it, it was up in the air and I grabbed it and started running,” Karstetter said. “I saw no one was around me, so I just bolted.”

The Saxons moved the ball with ease on their first two possessions.

Ferris needed just three plays on its first series with Karstetter taking a pass from Christian Olson and dashing 34 yards for the touchdown.

After forcing a punt, Ferris struck again. Jalen Hicks capped the drive with a 9-yard TD run, giving the Saxons a 14-0 lead with 3:03 to go in the first quarter.

Shadle Park (1-1) finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Rypien hit Skyler Kelley on a 5-yard TD pass.

The Highlanders’ defense then forced Ferris (2-0) to punt.

But three plays later, Karstetter swung the momentum back to the Saxons with the interception return.

It was all Ferris in the final two quarters.

Sharkey praised his defense.

“It was almost the same exact defense against Skyline (in 2010 title game), and we executed it well,” Sharkey said. “We were able to defend the run with four; they popped off a few 10-yarders but nothing big. I was really pleased with our corner and safety play.”

Shadle played decent defense. The final margin shouldn’t be a poor reflection on the Highlanders’ defense.

The Saxons just played better overall.

“There were a lot of shifts in momentum, but our defense was our rock,” Karstetter said. “We were real solid. If we keep playing like we’re playing it doesn’t matter how many points we score on offense.”

Mt. Spokane 21, Lewis and Clark 7: Roy Hyatt stepped up when the Mt. Spokane Wildcats needed him most.

Hyatt finished with three touchdowns and a key fumble recovery as Mt. Spokane held off the Lewis and Clark Tigers 21-7 Thursday at Joe Albi Stadium.

Afterward, Hyatt had to be helped up the ramp to the locker room. He came off the field twice with cramps.

After a scoreless, defensive first half, Mt. Spokane (2-0) used a fake punt to get on the scoreboard.

Facing fourth and 7 from its 31-yard line, Mt. Spokane quarterback Matt Pulliam, who was the up back in the formation, took the snap and hit Reed Siclair for a 47-yard gain to the Tigers’ 22-yard line.

On the next play, Hyatt broke two tackles and scored.

LC (0-2) moved to Mt. Spokane’s 19 when the Tigers fumbled. Hyatt recovered.

The Tigers evened the score at 7-7 on the second play of the fourth quarter when Andrew Black tossed a 4-yard jump ball to Jake Hufnagel for a TD.

Mt. Spokane answered using 11 plays and driving 85 yards before Hyatt, on fourth-and-14 at the Tigers’ 20, caught a pass from Pulliam on a post for the go-ahead TD.

The best news for Mt. Spokane is it survived the first two weeks of the season with starting quarterback Stu Stiles sitting out on an athletic code violation. He returns next week when the Wildcats visit Central Valley.

Junior quarterback Matt Pulliam did an admirable job filling in for Stiles.

Mt. Spokane finished with 210 yards on 38 attempts. Leading the way were Siclair (85 on 12 carries) and Hyatt (83 on 10 attempts).