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Mead sizzles, rides Bacon, Loucks to big win over Mt. Spokane

The Mead football team feeded off its Bacon on Friday.

Panthers wide receiver Lucas Bacon said it was a matter of time before he and quarterback Payton Loucks started hitting on all cylinders.

And it happened when Mead snapped a three-game losing streak to its in-district rival, topping Mt. Spokane 35-12 in the 19th Battle of the Bell before 7,454 at Albi Stadium.

Bacon and Loucks hooked up four times for touchdowns on completions of 66, 5, 5 and 71 yards.

“We’ve been trying to get this the whole season and it finally clicked this game,” said Bacon, who finished with five catches for 164 yards.

Bacon missed Mead’s Greater Spokane League opener two weeks ago, a 38-27 loss to Central Valley. He injured a shoulder the week prior against Coeur d’Alene.

“We’re on top of the world,” Bacon said. “We can only go up from here. There’s nothing better than winning the bell.”

The Great American Rivalry Series sponsored the game Friday. Bacon was named the game’s most valuable player.

Loucks put up an MVP effort, too. He threw five TD passes, completing 24 of 33 attempts for 364 yards.

“They connected early and they connected often,” Mead coach Benji Sonnichsen said of Bacon and Loucks. “That was pretty special. It was obviously a big game, an emotional game.”

It didn’t surprise Sonnichsen that Bacon had a breakout game.

“He’s prepared all year,” Sonnichsen said. “He doesn’t take the offseason off. He’s been working since (last) November. They’ve been throwing every week, and that’s what happens when you do that.”

Mt. Spokane (1-4) put together a nice drive on its first possession with running back Dillon Linello scoring on a 2-yard plunge. He had six carries for 39 yards on the drive.

Mead (3-2) got going on its second possession. Loucks hit Bacon for the first of three TD passes. On the 66-yard connection, Bacon crisscrossed the field.

Early in the second quarter, Loucks found Bacon again on first-and-goal from the 5 for a TD as the Panthers extended their lead to 14-6.

Mead muffed a fair catch attempt on a punt and Mt. Spokane’s Ryan VanWert recovered at the Panthers’ 2-yard line.

The Panthers’ defense stiffened, forcing a field goal that Cody McDonald drilled from 20 yards to cut Mead’s lead to 14-9 with 4:30 to go before halftime.

On its final possession of the half, Mead drove to Mt. Spokane’s 11 where it faced a fourth-and-three. Conaire Shaffer made a 28-yard field goal but he was roughed.

Mead took the three points off the board and had first-and-goal at the 5. Three plays later, Loucks and Bacon worked their magic again with Bacon hauling in a 5-yard TD pass, allowing the Panthers to go into halftime leading 21-9.

The Wildcats lost Lionello in the second quarter when it appeared he suffered a hyper extended his left elbow. He returned to start the second half.

Lionello put together a gutsy effort, finishing with 83 yards on 17 carries.

The win gives Mead an 11-8 edge in the series.