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Stiles, Hyatt lead surprising Mt. Spokane into rivalry week

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Help me out here. I’m trying to be interactive with this piece each Sunday.

There are three teams that are 3-0 in Greater Spokane League football. They are defending champ Gonzaga Prep, 2012 playoff qualifier Mead and Mt. Spokane.

A couple of teams belong in this group. One stands out.

I’ll state my thoughts in a moment.

Sitting at 2-1 each are Ferris and Shadle Park.

Which team, though, stands out in this next group? These teams are 1-2. They are Central Valley and North Central.

Here are my general observations after three weeks.

I’ve seen all the teams and they pretty much deserve to be where they are except I didn’t expect Mt. Spokane to be 3-0.

They beat two teams they were favored against – NC and Lewis and Clark. They knocked off CV on Thursday.

Mt. Spokane’s most difficult challenge to date awaits it in the annual Battle for the Bell against district rival Mead on Friday.

I give the Wildcats a better than average shot against Mead for two reasons – quarterback Stu Stiles and slotback Roy Hyatt. These are two of the better athletes in the league.

Now Mead has more weapons. But the Panthers have been inconsistent at times. That seems like a critical statement about a team that’s 3-0, but I know coach Sean Carty would admit as much.

So far Mead has gone through stretches in games where it produces nothing. The Panthers have put some undue pressure on their defense.

As much as Mt. Spokane coach Mike McLaughlin would like to understate it, the return of Stiles is big for his team. He’s a natural leader. He paid for his athletic code violation. Nobody was more remorseful and transparent about it than him.

When Stiles takes off and scrambles, he’s a threat to go the distance. His speed in the open field is remarkable.

• Even though there are three unbeaten teams, the two best in my opinion are G-Prep and Ferris. I would call them 1A and 1B.

Ferris has just finished a difficult first third of the season. The Saxons’ next test won’t occur until the final week when they face Mead.

The G-Prep/Ferris game was the best I’ve seen in perhaps a couple of seasons. It was entertaining until the last play.

If these teams played 10 times, they’d split them. They’re evenly matched.

Both coaches were impressed with their opponents Friday.

“We didn’t play good enough defense,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “We’ll just have to rebound. A lot of credit to them. They played outstanding offensively.”

Both teams moved the ball at will. G-Prep couldn’t stop Ferris, especially the Saxons’ double-wing scheme, and the Saxons had difficulty chasing down G-Prep’s leading rushers – Jack Bamis, Nick Wood and Tom Davis.

I’d say the game was an instant classic.

For a second straight year, the Bullpups have a completely rebuilt offensive line. They were more than capable against Ferris.

A G-Prep/Ferris rematch in the playoffs? I’d pay to see it.

• A thought or two on CV being 1-2. I have to admit, I bought the preseason hype about the Bears returning a solid core. They did but the problem they have is they start too many guys both ways. Against Mt. Spokane, eight players started on both sides of the ball.

They lack depth. That’s going to take a toll on them as the season progresses. They’ve gone from a team given a slight edge to win the league title to a team that’s hanging on for dear life.

CV finishes the season with games against, in order, Mead, Shadle and G-Prep.

Unless there’s a midseason turnaround the Bears are done.