Mt. Spokane uses ‘next man up’ strategy to down Gonzaga Prep 13-0

September 28, 2018

Every football team suffers injuries. It’s unavoidable. That’s why coaches preach “Next man up” mentality.

But it’s getting a little ridiculous for Mt. Spokane.

Already without senior quarterback Brady Hill and running back Kannon Katzer because of injuries, the Wildcats lost backup senior quarterback Quentin Ayers with a lower right leg injury early in the second half.

It didn’t matter.

Mt. Spokane, ranked No. 8 in state 3A, rushed the ball 63 times for 330 yards and beat Gonzaga Prep – ranked No. 6 in 4A – 13-0 on Thursday at Albi Stadium in a Greater Spokane League matchup.

It’s the first time Mt. Spokane has beaten G-Prep since 2010 and the first shutout of the Bullpups since Central Valley blanked them 3-0 in overtime in 2003.

“To beat them is a huge victory for us and our program,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said.

Ayers finished with 20 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The Wildcats turned to sophomore Jeter Schuerman to take snaps after the injury to Ayers.

“Jeter did a great job,” Cloer said. “He came in and executed our offense. He’s been in some big situations in baseball games, so he took it like we thought he would.”

“It’s crazy. As a sophomore, I never thought I’d be called up on varsity,” Schuerman said. “When Ayers got hurt I was nervous, but once I got out there it was a whole different ballgame.”

Schuerman said after his first series he was able to have a little fun on the field.

“I just tried to do what I did on JV,” he said. “Lower my shoulder, try to run people over.”

Despite the thinning depth chart at the skill positions, Cloer said up and down the roster, his players are all-in.

“We keep plugging away and our front did a great job of reestablishing the line of scrimmage tonight and our running backs did a great job of hitting the holes.”

G-Prep took the opening kickoff and marched deep into Wildcats territory. The Bullpups went for it on fourth-and-2 at the 19, but Zane Meltzer’s carry was stopped short of the marker and G-Prep turned the ball over on downs.

Grayson Bowles broke off a 23-yard run for Mt. Spokane to move the ball out near midfield and Ayers connected with Tommy Madill for 18 yards down to the G-Prep 26. But consecutive incomplete passes on third and fourth down ended the drive.

On the Wildcats’ next drive, they turned it over on downs at the G-Prep 26. Two plays later, Melzer coughed it up and Mt. Spokane recovered at the 27.

Ayers took a keeper 11 yards to the 16 and a counter by Madill set up the Wildcats with first-and-goal at the 2. After a dive picked up a yard, Ayers used a quarterback sneak to put the Wildcats on the board with a 7-0 lead with just more than 6 minutes left in the half.

G-Prep took over at its 15 and moved the ball out to midfield but stalled and was forced to punt.

Mt. Spokane got the ball back at its 11. Ayers picked up a couple of first downs with his legs, then Bowles broke one off for 16 yards.

Ayers connected with Isaac Adams for 13 yards out to the 49; Ayers scrambled for 7 yards to the G-Prep 30 with 4 seconds in the half.

Freshman kicker Ethan Moczulski, who was added to the roster earlier in the day, attempted a 47-yard field-goal attempt at the horn, but it was just short.

Mt. Spokane took the second-half kick and started at its 25. Ayers hit Kainoa Figuera for 11 yards and a first down at the 42, then kept it twice for 16 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 5.

On his third consecutive carry, Ayers took it to the goal line but fumbled on the tackle for a touchback – and was injured on the play. Coaches carried the senior off as he favored his right leg.

The Bullpups couldn’t gain any momentum from the goal-line stop and punted it back to the Wildcats at midfield.

Schuerman took over and leaned on runs by seniors Josh Curtis and Grant Ledgerwood – and a G-Prep personal foul penalty – to move methodically back into the red zone.

On second-and-8 from the 11, Ledgerwood took a counter play up the middle for a touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Wildcats led 13-0 with 4:21 left in the third.

Mt. Spokane came up with a big defensive stop at its 26 on fourth-and-6 on G-Prep’s next possession. After a short series, G-Prep stalled out again and decided to punt on fourth-and-2 at its 31 with nearly 8 minutes to go.

The Bullpups didn’t get the ball back until 4 seconds remained on the clock.

Ferris 21, Shadle Park 13: Jack Clavel went 15 of 19 for 146 yards with two touchdown passes and the Saxons (3-2) beat the Highlanders (1-4) at Albi Stadium.

Clavel connected with Eric Mast and Brock Bozett for scores, while Connor Boyd recovered a fumble for a score.

Shadle had a chance to cut into the deficit early in the fourth quarter, but on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Carson Doyle’s pass to an open receiver in the corner of the end zone was overthrown and incomplete.

Doyle finished 11 of 29 for 138 yards with a 47-yard touchdown pass to George Hilvurn. Doyle carried eight times for 95 yards and a touchdown.

WIAA adopts video-sharing rule: With the first-round matchups of the state football championships being determined by the WIAA Playoff Seeding Committee for the first time this year, a video exchange policy was approved by the WIAA Executive Board and announced via press release on Monday.

Coaches will be required to provide a copy of their team’s three most recent games to their first-round opponent within 30 minutes of the tournament brackets being announced on Nov. 4.

If the timeline is not met, WIAA staff will be notified and work with athletic directors to meet this requirement. If the video is not received by 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, the coach in violation will be prohibited from coaching the ensuing game.

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