SANDPOINT — The heavyweight early-season schedule continues for the Bulldogs, who travel to face a dangerous Mt. Spokane team tonight, with an early kickoff of 5:30 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium.
Mt. Spokane (2-0) is ranked No. 6 in the latest 3A poll (akin to 4A in Idaho) in the state of Washington. The Wildcats own wins over 4A Moses Lake (41-16) and Damien (42-14) of Hawaii, and have been the 3A Greater Spokane League champs four years running.
Senior Brady Hill, who has committed to play baseball next year at Washington State, is the returning GSL offensive MVP at quarterback, and is an athletic dual threat weapon that the Bulldogs will have to account for on defense.
Sandpoint (1-2) is coming off a physical 28-21 win over Raymond, earning both their first win of the season and Ryan Knowles’s first win as a head coach.
“Ringing the victory bell was pretty sweet, it’s been a while,” said Knowles, who played for the Bulldogs in the 90s. “They went and sang the fight song and went and rang the bell. They had their routine and went about their business.”
The Bulldogs started strong and finished strong, but were once again plagued by inconsistency. Two huge fourth quarter plays ultimately swung the game their way and led a comeback, as running back Dillan Mitton picked up five yards on fourth and three on the winning drive, and linebacker Tag Benefield made a crunching stick on a huge fourth down stop late in the game.
The Bulldogs lost their offensive continuity in the second and third quarters, when Raymond ran off 21 unanswered points. Knowles is looking for a more consistent brand of football from his charges.
“The first and fourth quarter were awesome. We jumped up 13-0, all phases popping. Same with fourth quarter,” said Knowles, whose team held a 15-0 fourth quarter edge. “We talked in the third quarter that they (Raymond) were starting to wear down, and that was exciting.”
Knowles has a few scheme and personnel changes in store for his team’s fourth game, facing arguably the toughest opponent on their regular season schedule this year.
The Bulldogs have missed some chances on deep balls in the first few games, but will have to continue to try and stretch defenses and keep them from stacking the box to stop Mitton, who is averaging 23 carries a game so far this year.
“I’m looking for four quarters, not a first and a fourth. Our offense staying on schedule, continue to run the ball and manage the game,” said Knowles. “This would be a heck of a win. I just want our best us.”
Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. Chris Chatburn will call the game live on AM 1400, with the Yoke’s Pre-game show kicking things off at 5:10 p.m.