Two of the city’s top football programs showed plenty of highlight worthy plays and feature individual performances. After 3 quarters of a tightly fought game, the Bull-pups finally rolled past the Panthers 30-7, showing superior size and speed all over the field.
It was apparent early on that Gonzaga had a little bit more of everything but penalties seemed to keep the game close. In the first quarter a defensive facemask on a 4th and long stop resulted in a first down and another chance for Mead. On the very next play Mead QB Thomas Dammarell, a junior, scat for a nifty touchdown run, weaving through defenders and outracing them to the one and only Panther score. They had two personal fouls both on either 3rd or 4th down to extend Panther drives. Later in the game, they had a beautiful touchdown run nullified by a penalty. Needless to say, as a fan watching with no bias, it made for a much more entertaining game to watch.
Gonzaga Prep will no doubt fix the little things as its early in the season but that’s not the only thing that stood out. Offensively they have several players worth mentioning and I cannot start any other place than with multi sport superstar sophomore Devin Culp. Who in the first quarter made a great highlight grab jumping over a defender and finishing the play at the one yard line leading to a score. He continued to make nice plays throughout. His biggest play was made right before halftime when he caught a ball, turned, and flew down the sideline out racing the fastest panther to a 60+ yard TD! It was impressive to see such a large player fly like that…. Hes so big out there, looks like HOF’er Shannon Sharpe! Another shining star on offense was running back Mason Plese, who is a flash when he gets a lane to accelerate. He carried the offense following that big offensive line. Defensively, linebacker Taj Hoard was everywhere. He shows such great recognition of the plays and makes tackles at any point. Tonight he forced a fumble and should have gotten the defensive game ball for sure. One more player to mention is Evan Weaver who is an absolute beast! This kid ( 6-4 250 hardly the make up of a “kid”) plays defensive end and at times looked unblockable. Not only is Weaver in on a lot of plays noticeably chasing down speedy quarterbacks and running backs, he gets dirty on the offensive side of the ball as well. As a running back on numerous plays, he stomped through the line of scrimmage using his size and speed to be an unhealthy tackle.
Mead was not devoid of showtime athletes. Let me start with the quarterback Thomas Dammarell. TD plays with a sort of calmness and has a playmaking ability that will benefit Mead in plenty of games this season and next. His most impressive play on this night was a designed roll-out to the right side that turned into an escape from GP defensive pressure. Right before he looked like he was out of time and field, he threw back slightly across his body to a wide open receiver who was amidst a slew of players running wild downfield, he made the catch and got the first down on 3rd and long. This was a very clutch throw by Dammarell. Brady Anderson is a solid athlete. He showed good hands on offense and on defense seemed to be mentioned a lot by the game announcer. The play that I feel like deserves mentioning is a fourth and goal play where he darted inside and took out the previously mentioned Weaver, making the stop to turn the ball over to his offensive unit. Beau Skinner was a physical corner who seemed to love the big hits, he made a few pops! EJ Blade, when in at running back showed some nice patience where he waited for blocking and ran to the lane nicely. He has good acceleration and I expected a breakout run. Sam Brown who wasn’t used as much as I thought he would be on offense, did show big time playmaker ability on special teams and defense. He was the fastest player on the field and made it shown on many occasions. His biggest play of the game came on a 2nd quarter pass play where he darting into the passing lane, defending a post route, sneakily snagging the INT. It was a very surprising and smooth finish to the play and G Preps drive.
I look forward to seeing more of these athletes show their skills on Thursday and Friday nights in Spokane!