Colville heads to Pullman with playoff berth on the line

Indians eliminate Cheney Colville High (6-3, 3-2) will play for a State 2A football playoff berth Friday night in the Palouse against Pullman (6-2, 4-1). Game time at PHS is 7 p.m.The winner will qualify for the playoffs one week later as the second and last seed from the Great Northern League. The loser will see its season come to an end.Colville stayed in the playoff hunt with an impressive 19-13 win at home over Cheney (6-3, 2-3) last Friday night. The loss eliminated the Blackhawks from post-season contention. East Valley has annexed the GNL championship and top seed to the State 2A playoffs. Pullman is coming off a wild 41-38 triple overtime win at home last Friday night over West Valley (4-5, 3-3). That loss eliminated WV’s post-season aspirations. PULLMANCHS surprised Pullman last season in the Colville mud, 26-20. The loss cost the Greyhounds an outright GNL championship. With any luck, the relentless CHS running game will find a muddy track in Pullman. Anything’s possible—this one isn’t scheduled for the plastic grass at Washington State University’s Martin Stadium.“I think it will be a tight game,” CHS head coach Randy Cornwell said of Friday night’s match-up at Pullman. “Obviously, both teams have a lot to play for.”Cornwell, his staff and players would like nothing better than to leave their two-year stint in the GNL (and as the smallest school in the league) with a playoff berth. It looks like the Indians will be back in the Northeast A League next fall when student enrollment counts are released later this month. Colville was simply more physical than CheneyEnrollment counts will be based on 9th through 11th graders and not 10th through 12th as done previously. In addition, off-site alternative students won’t be in enrollment counts. As the valid argument goes, why should schools count students that don’t play sports?The new classification cycle will be four years and not two.If Colville plays like it did against an explosive Cheney team, the Indians certainly have a shot to play in the post-season.“I thought the most physical team on the field (against Cheney) was Colville,” Cornwell said. “Our kids brought the wood.”In the win over Pullman last November, the Indians were clearly the more physical team on the field. But a lot appears to be different about this 2013 PHS team. For one thing, Mason Petrino, the son of University of Idaho football coach Bobby Petrino, solved a major quarterback problem at Pullman when his father took the job with the sad-sack Vandals.“When the Petrino’s decided to live in Pullman and not Moscow (home of the University of Idaho), they got better and more explosive,” Cornwell said. “He isn’t a very big kid, but he is a coach’s son...a smart, heady kid who is quick-footed, knows the game and makes plays for them.”Pullman, the top-rated offense in the league, also features running backs David Ungerer. Justin Pintak and Sam Druffel who get their share of carries for PHS.Pullman will also be the first team Colville will face this season that goes exclusively no huddle.“It’s a big challenge,” Cornwell said of an uptempo Pullman team that has been dominating and has put up a lot of points this fall. **See full story in the November 6 edition of the Statesman Examiner**