Kannon Katzer has carried Mt. Spokane all season long. Why would the Greater Spokane League 3A championship game be any different?
The dynamic running back rushed 25 times for 307 yards with touchdown runs of 65 and 5 yards and the Wildcats topped Shadle Park 42-8 in the late game at Albi Stadium on Friday.
Mt. Spokane avenged a 14-11 loss to the Highlanders in last year’s title game. It’s been a sticking point with the Wildcats.
“That’s our expectation, you know, going into every season is to compete for the championship and we didn’t do it last year,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said. “We didn’t hold up that end of the bargain last year. So we wanted to get it back this year.”
“It’s been kind of a thing, all year,” Katzer said. “You know, our No. 1 goal is to win the 3A GSL championship. And we came out here and our team played the best we’ve played all season. We got it done.
“Last year, we lost and we knew that was a feeling we never wanted to have again.”
“We came out and played well,” Cloer said. “Defense stepped up and offense moved the ball. Had a few opportunities in the first half and we didn’t convert them, but after that we got a nice comfortable lead and stayed up front.”
Both teams qualified for the Week 10 playoffs games against Mid-Columbia Conference teams. Mt. Spokane (7-2, 3-0) will host Kamiakin (7-2, 6-2) on Friday at Albi. Shadle Park (5-4, 2-1) has to travel to Lampson Stadium to face Kennewick (8-1, 7-1).
“We’re excited,” flanker Tommy Madill said. “I mean, that’s what we love – smashmouth football – so we’re excited to play them here.”
On Katzer’s first carry of the game he went off-tackle, broke to the outside and went 65 yards to the house to put the Wildcats up 7-0.
“We are playing with 23 kids anymore,” Shadle Park coach Jim Mace said. “We had some injuries and Mt. Spokane is a really good team, and they don’t need any help. I’m proud of our efforts and then we could have executed a little bit better, but nobody tackles Katzer and, unfortunately, we didn’t either.”
Jose Alvarez-Renteria picked off Logan Doyle and Mt. Spokane went back to work at the Shadle 30. Katzer picked up 18 and 7 yards before a 5-yard TD run to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
“He’s just a great high school football player,” Cloer said. “He’s really fun to coach on Friday nights and I look forward to watching him on Saturdays in the future.”
Shadle’s Ryan Schmidt connected with Xavier Atkins on a 56-yard pass completion, but on fourth-and-3 at the 18, Schmidt came up 1 yard short and the Highlanders turned it over on downs.
Mt. Spokane took over deep in its territory. Katzer got loose again for a medium gain but put it on the carpet for the second time in the game. It took a Wildcats bounce, though, and the drive continued.
Katzer reeled off a 42-yard gain to get into the red zone, but the drive stalled and Mt. Spokane turned it over on downs at the Shadle 4 with 2 minutes left in the half.
On its first possession of the second half, Shadle was faced with third-and-18 at its 8, but Schmidt was sacked at the 3. Tommy Madill returned the short punt to the SP 20.
Katzer plowed up the middle to the 5. On second-and-goal, Madill swept right then made a hard cut to the end zone to put Mt. Spokane up 21-0 with 4:55 left in the third.
After another SP punt, Katzer got the Wildcats into Shadle territory with a pair of runs and AJ Newcomb hit Madill for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Mt. Spokane led 28-0 after three quarters.
Madill had 32 yards on the ground and three catches for 63 yards through the air.
“I just love coming out with my friends and competing,” Madill said. “It just happened they called my number a couple times tonight and it’s the best I can ask for.”
Early in the fourth, Katzer carried 32 yards to push him over 300 for the game. On the next play, Newcomb hit Alvarez-Renteria for a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-0.
Shadle broke up the shutout with a long fourth-quarter drive, culminated by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Logan Doyle to Atkins, who finished with five catches for 103 yards.