The Pullman High football team boasts three straight trips to the Washington Class 2A postseason.
The Greyhounds will try to continue that streak when they take on Cheney tonight at 7 in Cheney.
If Pullman wins, it will finish second in the Great Northern League with a 3-1 conference record and carry the GNL’s No. 2 seed into a play-in game the following week. A Pullman loss would set up a Kansas tiebreaker with as many as two other teams Tuesday at East Valley of Spokane.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Pullman coach David Cofer said. “We’ve been in this position the past few years and the kids have done a nice job of handling it.”
The Greyhounds reached this point by overcoming two key injuries. Star receiver Isaiah Strong broke a bone in his right hand during a 42-6 win against Black Hills on Sept. 27. With his dominant hand covered in a club-like cast ever since, he’s played primarily on defense — and made what proved the game-winning pass deflection against West Valley two weeks ago, to keep the Greyhounds in the playoff race. Pullman won 28-27.
“That’s what good athletes do,” Cofer said. “They find a way to get it done. He’s kept (in) good spirits, just goes out there to do what he can do. And him defensively leading us in tackles last week (with 12 solo tackles in Pullman’s 13-7 win against Othello) is something we’re going to need him to keep going.”
Isaiah’s younger brother, Evan Strong, suffered a bone bruise to his knee during a 41-0 win against East Valley on Oct. 4 — and the sophomore running back has been sidelined ever since.
“He’s back at practice,” Cofer said of Pullman’s most dynamic rusher. “He’s kind of a we’ll-see (decision) this week. But he should be ready to go full strength next week.”
Evan Strong’s injury opened the door for running back Bogey Perkins to amass 466 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns the past three weeks.
“Bogey, we kind of discovered him with Evan out,” Cofer said. “And the good thing about that is we found something we didn’t know we had.
“So when Evan comes back, we’ll just add him to the mix and this will just end up making us better.”
Something else that’s made the Greyhounds better is Carson Coulter winning the quarterback battle. Cofer said the dual-threat quarterback did that by throwing for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the second half of his team’s comeback win against West Valley.
During Pullman’s 13-7 win against Othello last week, Colter threw for 200 yards and a score, that touchdown going to Ethan Kramer — perhaps Pullman’s most consistent receiver, Cofer said.
“He leads our team in (receptions),” Cofer said, “and last week, he did a great job of yards after (the) catch, so that was something good to see.”
One play in particular stood out to Cofer last week. With Pullman facing a third-and-21, Kramer caught a 6-yard pass — then broke several tackles to turn it into an 18-yard gain and set up a manageable fourth-and-3.
“Really, the biggest thing I’ve seen him improve on is his toughness breaking through tackles,” Cofer said. “He just keeps his feet moving and we’ve got a couple more wrinkles in for him — so he can use both his feet and his ability to break tackles (against Cheney).”
Byron Edelman may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2277.