It had been almost 16 months since the Pullman High School football team played a game on its home field, in front of its fans, backed by a pep band and jolted by its touchdown cannon.
Finally, after months of uncertainty and some weather adjustments, the Greyhounds were back on Hobbs Field on Friday night.
PHS concluded its pandemic-delayed spring season with a dominant 35-0 win against Class 2A Greater Spokane League foe Rogers in its first true home game this season. Bad weather and unplayable field conditions forced the team’s previous home games to be played at Washington State University’s Martin Stadium, where fans weren’t allowed and where the touchdown cannon was noticeably absent.
It was a bittersweet ending for Pullman (4-2), which, if it were a normal football season, could claim that it was peaking at the right time. The Greyhounds won their final three games after a 1-2 start.
But that wasn’t at the forefront of the team’s collective emotions after the win. This season, however shortened and altered it was, happened, and that was never guaranteed.
“The mentality that we had was, we’re going to prepare for (the season), even if it doesn’t happen,” said PHS quarterback Carson Coulter, one of 14 seniors who was honored before kickoff. “We got together, worked out, and I think that paid off.”
Coulter accounted for four of Pullman’s five touchdowns, using his legs for two, his arm for one and his defense for another. The strong-armed dual-threat completed 19-of-28 passes for 251 yards and added 84 yards rushing to help the Greyhounds win their 11th straight game at Hobbs Field, extending a streak that began in October 2017.
“Every time we play at home, we’re representing Pullman, you know?” Coulter said. “I don’t think I’ve lost a home game my whole high school career. That’s a really good feeling to go out on.”
The Greyhounds’ defense, which head coach David Cofer said has been the team’s backbone all season, held the visitors from Spokane to 136 yards and collected three turnovers — the last of which was Coulter’s 8-yard pick-six late in the fourth quarter.
The Pirates (0-7) only reached Pullman’s side of the field three times in the game and didn’t get past the ‘Hounds’ 28-yard line. Zackary Farnsworth led the way with seven tackles (four for a loss) while Joel Moore, Nick Robison and Cotton Sears had two sacks apiece.
The effort was needed early, as the hosts struggled to convert scoring opportunities. Four first-half Pullman drives ended in Rogers territory without points.
“Our offense was rolling, but we just couldn’t punch it in,” Cofer said. “When you have that problem, you need to rely on your defense and it’s really nice to be able to do that.”
Farnsworth scored on a 6-yard run in the first quarter and Coulter added a 10-yard keeper in the second to put Pullman ahead 14-0 at halftime. Coulter snuck in for a 2-yard TD in the third and zipped a 55-yard scoring pass to Tanner Barbour in the fourth before his pick-six capped it.
The touchdown pass was Coulter’s final play at quarterback and his interception came on his final rep at defensive back.
“That’s a pretty special way to end it,” Cofer said. “I don’t think he can plan it any better than that.”
With the win, Pullman finished third in the eight-team GSL, behind Shadle Park and West Valley. There will not be a postseason tournament or culminating event this year because of the delayed season.
“Ultimately when I look back, I’m disappointed that we can’t see how far this team could go (in the playoffs)” Cofer said. “But at the same time, we’re just so grateful for what we did get, when it looked like we weren’t going to get anything.”
Rogers 0 0 0 0—0
Pullman 7 7 7 14–35
Pullman — Zackary Farnsworth 6 run (Jaxon Patrick kick), 7:33
Pullman — Carson Coulter 10 run (Patrick kick), 8:37
Pullman — Coulter 2 run (Patrick kick), 2:53
Pullman — Tanner Barbour 55 pass from Coulter (Patrick kick), 8:29
Pullman — Coulter 8 interception return (Patrick kick), 2:37
RUSHING — Pullman: Zackary Farnsworth 8-46, Carson Coulter 11-84, Mason Emerson 11-59, Riley Pettit 3-(-3).
PASSING — Pullman: Coulter 19-28-2—251, Pettit 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING — Pullman: Tanner Barbour 5-109, Emerson 2-22, Ryan Bickelhaupt 4-48, Hyatt Utzman 4-35, Farnsworth 4-37.