The third week of the season is a little early for the last two unbeaten Greater Spokane League 4A teams to meet.
Central Valley was coming off a pair of impressive wins against west side 3A powers Bellevue and Garfield, while Ferris had beaten Moses Lake and Lake City, both on the road, by a combined 81-34.
CV opened a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, then had to withstand a late charge by the Saxons. Matters were still in doubt until a goal-line stand with just under 3 minutes to go, then an interception in the end zone moments later sealed it, and the Bears escaped as the team still without a blemish on its record, outlasting the Saxons 17-7 at Albi Stadium on Friday.
“You know, it’s a tough league,” CV coach Ryan Butner said. “There’s a lot of teams in our league that are strong. We go next week against another tough 4A opponent before we go nonleague again. And that’s good. That’s what we like to like to have after three games, is three wins.”
Carsen Raab caught a 29-yard touchdown pass and came up with the late pick, and Matt Gabbert went 19 of 26 for 228 yards with two touchdown passes for the Bears (3-0, 1-0), who face Lewis and Clark next week at Albi.
“Our first game against Bellevue, we put up a pretty stellar defensive performance,” Butner said. “And we knew after last week, we needed to get back to fundamentals. And I think we did that we came in with a pretty simple game plan of just playing football and being basic and they did a great job.”
Ferris (2-1, 0-1) closed to 17-7 on a touchdown with 5:55 to go. But the Bears held on a fourth-and-1 at their 4 with just under 3 minutes to play. After Ferris forced a punt to get the ball back with 1:23 to go, Raab outjumped Casey Hocking at the goal line for the interception to ice it.
“That’s a good way to seal it,” Butner said.
“They put me in there just to guard that guy because he’s pretty tall,” Raab said. “So I did the best that I could and came out with an interception.”
After trading punts early and a scoreless first quarter, CV took over at its 4. Gabbert hooked up with Carter Childress on completions of 9 and 10 yards, Cameron Sheley for 17 yards and hit Cole Vinson for 25 yards into the Ferris red zone. On second-and-goal, Ryan Harper pounded it in from the 1 to complete a 16-play drive.
“That’s our thing, to take what we can get, and I was really happy with a (16-)play drive,” Butner said. “Just rode that out a little bit. We’ll take what you give us and we can be explosive at times, but we can also go with ball control.”
Ferris took over at its 14 and methodically worked upfield, with the big gainer a 26-yard pass play from Jack Clavel to Hocking on a leaping grab. The Saxons went for it on fourth-and-7 from the CV 18, but Clavel’s lob to Kobe Smith fell incomplete and the Bears took over on downs.
Gabbert made completions of 22 and 20 yards to get out to midfield, but threw behind a receiver and Tarynce Antolin picked it off took it to the CV 48.
Ferris went backward on the possession and CV led 7-0 at intermission.
CV took the ball back after half and Gabbert picked up 24 yards on a third-and-1 keeper to move into Ferris territory. Gabbert hooked up with Sheley down to the 26, but the drive stalled and Landon Rehkow drilled a 34-yard field goal to put the Bears up 10-0 with 6:22 left in the third.
CV kept it on the ground with Ryan Harper and Chad Carlson grinding out yardage until Gabbert hit Raab on a slant for a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 17-0 lead with 7:09 left.
Ferris got a long kickoff return from Brent Jones to set up the Saxons in CV territory. Four plays later, Clavel hit Zack Fleming in the corner of the end zone to get Ferris on the board with 5:55 to go.
Sheley returned the kick and was stripped fighting for extra yardage. The Saxons recovered at the 24 and was faced with fourth-and-1 at the 4.
Ferris fed Schlosser on an off-tackle play and was stuffed for no gain. Ferris had one more shot after a Rehkow punt, but the Bears’ defense rose to the task once again.
Gonzaga Prep 30, University 7: Jaden Ortega rushed for 118 yards with two touchdowns and the Bullpups (2-1, 1-0) defeated the visiting Titans (0-3, 0-1) in the GSL 4A opener for both teams.
Robert Collier Jr. added 83 yards and a pair of scores for Gonzaga Prep, which hosts Shadle Park next week.
Mt. Spokane 35, Sandpoint 19: Kannon Katzer had touchdown runs of 72, 20, 96 and 75 yards, finishing with 355 yards on 16 carries, and the visiting Wildcats (3-0) beat the Bulldogs (2-1) in a nonleague game.
Jeter Schuerman added a 5-yard TD pass to Jake Griffiths as the Wildcats built a 28-0 halftime lead.
Mt. Spokane faces Mead (2-1) in the “Battle of the Bell” at Albi Stadium on Friday.
Shadle Park 24, Cheney 21: Camden Harlow kicked a 40-yard field goal with 3 seconds left and the Highlanders (2-1) edged the Blackhawks (2-1) in a nonleague game at Albi Stadium.
SP’s Ryan Schmidt found Logan Doyle from 16 yards for the pair’s second TD connection of the game with 4:53 left to tie it. Doyle finished with 104 rushing yards on 14 carries and added eight catches for 89 yards and two scores.
Doyle had a 52-yard TD catch-and-run in the first quarter.
West Valley 26, Othello 19: Matt Allen went 12 of 18 for 242 yards with two touchdowns through the air and one on the ground and the Eagles (3-0) beat the visiting Huskies (1-2) in a nonleague game.
Alyjouah Rollins had four catches for 180 yards with two TDs and an interception for West Valley. Isaac Smeltzer added a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Eagles.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.