On Friday night, Sept. 11, the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups, who traveled all the way from Spokane, went against Bellarmine in the second non-league game of the year in an overtime thriller. The Bullpups came back from a 21-0 deficit to eventually win on a game winning touchdown run in overtime in front of a packed crowd in another great atmosphere on Memorial Field.
Gonzaga Prep’s star defensive end (and Cal commit), Evan Weaver, led the charge with three TD runs and a crucial blocked field goal late in the fourth quarter. As the game progressed, the Pups looked to Weaver more and more to come up with big plays, and he was able to deliver.
Despite Weaver’s strong presence on the defensive line, the Lions had great success running the football. Ahmad Lewis had another huge game with 234 yards and one 77 yard TD. Lewis displayed toughness carrying the ball 42 times and getting a good amount of yards after contact.
Quarterback Christian Moore had another solid game going 10/21 with 147 yards, two passing TD, and one rushing TD. Eight of those went to Blake Wilcoxen, who had both passing touchdowns and 130 yards.
After the fast 21-0 start in the first quarter by the Lions, the Pups finally found their groove on offense, scoring two touchdowns before the half. Their triple option offense became more effective in the third quarter as they tied the game up on the first drive of the second half.
The Lions were able to stop the momentum, and took back the lead with a long, well executed drive which resulted in a Wilcoxen TD. Head coach Brian Jensen often alluded to the ability of the players to keep competing and to do whatever it takes. That’s why they were able to stay with it at the end.
Junior outside linebacker, Kyle Casey, had a couple huge tackles for losses in the second half. That shifted momentum. Also, the solid play of the front seven, especially in the last five minutes, gave the Lions a chance in the end. This was a true test for the defense down the stretch in the fourth quarter and they responded well as a unit.
Ultimately, the Pups stopped the Lions on a 4th and short quick slant near the end zone, and they went on to win 34-28, but Jensen had a rather positive outlook at the end of the game. He spoke about the opportunity, “I am so proud of these guys. Considering a test like this week, going up against one of the best teams in Eastern Washington this early. I’m so proud of the way they competed, just like last week.”
This Pete Carroll mentality of emphasis on competition and staying positive seems to be very effective reaching the players, who respond well. Jensen talked more about this positive approach, saying, “That’s what we’re about and that’s how we approach things. These are great high school football games; this is why we do it. It’s why you compete as a student-athlete and likewise as a coach. There are tons of positives.”