In a battle for early supremacy in the 4A Greater Spokane League, neither quarterback took a snap under center – but that doesn’t mean it was a modern, pass-happy affair.
Rather, both teams attempted to control the game on the ground, pounding the ball up the middle or off-tackle all night with the occasional sweep, pitch or pass to keep the opposing defense honest.
Though Gonzaga Prep eventually outgained Central Valley on the ground, the scoreboard told a different story.
Hunter Chodorowski carried 29 times for 180 yards – with a long of just 26 yards – and Central Valley (4-1, 2-0) downed visiting Gonzaga Prep (4-2, 1-1) 24-14 on Friday.
“(The coaches) told me I was going to get the ball, but I didn’t really expect to get it that much,” Chodorowski said. “Once I got going, I just put my head down and had to go with it.”
So what does the junior think about old school, grind-it-out football?
“When you get 5 yards a play and you just pound it every play. It just makes it that much more fun.”
The win sets up a showdown against Mead (4-2, 2-0) next week with the winner having an inside track to the 4A league champ. Mead beat Mt. Spokane 24-19 on Friday night.
“It’s a good position to be in,” CV coach Ryan Butner said. “We can’t celebrate this one too long. We have a super-tough opponent next week in Mead that we have to be equally as prepared for.
And it’s a totally different game. They’re pass-heavy where these guys are run-heavy. But we feel good about being 2-0.”
The teams spent the first quarter testing the others’ run defense, but not really having much success. But a punt return late in the quarter by CV’s Austin Tomlinson gave the Bears the ball at G-Prep’s 32.
On first play of second quarter, Ryan Harper busted up the middle, broke an arm tackle by a linebacker and took it 31 yards for the game’s first score.
On the next possession, Devin Culp took an option pitch 36 yards down the sideline to set up G-Prep on the Bears’ 25. Kasey Anthony carried for 15 yards, then rumbled off tackle for a 10-yard score to knot it at 7.
Central Valley put something together on the next drive, moving to the G-Prep 37. Hannan dropped to pass, but was forced to scramble. He had gained 13 yards but coughed it up at the Bullpups’ 28, where G-Prep’s Hunter McKenna gathered the ball.
G-Prep marched down the field, with the big play coming on a 41-yard gallop by Halonen, but the drive stalled at CV’s 16. McKenna’s field-goal attempt was blocked by the interior and McKenna eventually covered the ball back at CV’s 32.
The Bears got the ball back with 3:56 before the half and drove to G-Prep’s 37. Hannan threw incomplete on second-and-10, but a pass interference call gave the Bears a first down at the 27.
Hannan eventually hit Correy Quinn on a 16-yard slant to the goal line. Quinn got stuck by a safety but kept his feet and forced his way into the end zone with 36 seconds left before the half to make it 14-7.
G-Prep had a last chance before intermission. Starting at its 22, Anthony picked up 9 yards and Halonen hit Sam Lockett on a 31-yard pass to move to the Bears’ 38. Halonen looked for Culp on a post route, but overthrew for an interception.
On the first drive of the second half, Culp pounded a carry up the middle 20 yards to put G-Prep at the CV 40. Two plays later, Anthony was struggling for an extra yard and was stripped. CV scooped it and returned it to the G-Prep 25.
Two plays later, Chodorowski broke several tackles on a carry up the middle and took it for a 22-yard TD and a 21-7 lead.
On their next possession, the Bullpups moved into CV territory and Culp broke off a 48-yard touchdown run, but a holding call negated the play and pushed G-Prep back to its 49. On the next play, Culp ran a slant and Halonen hit him in stride, and the Washington Huskies commit took it the rest of the way for a 51-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
The Bears took over with 9:03 left in the fourth at the G-Prep 47. Hannan hit Tomlinson on a slant for 17 yards, then Chodorowski took a sweep 18 yards to the G-Prep 12. Hannan tried to get outside on third-and-5 but was stopped short, and CV settled for a 22-yard field goal by Landon Rehkow.
Gonzaga Prep had two more possessions. The first ended on an incomplete pass in the end zone off a halfback option pass from Culp, and the second ended on Jase Edwards interception of Halonen’s attempt to find Culp in the end zone.
“When you get them out of their element a little bit you have a better idea of what they are going to do.” Butner said of the last two possessions. “Our guys were ready for something to go down field. That was Jase’s first game back in three games … and so he came up big for that one.”
Anthony finished with 123 yards on 21 carries and Culp added 106 yards on five rushes.