The cannon at Hobbs Field boomed loud, early and often Friday during Pullman’s home football opener against North Central of Spokane.
The opening kickoff was a sign of things to come for the Greyhounds, who cruised past the Indians 49-0 in a dominant contest from start to finish.
Sophomore Evan Strong followed his blockers 89 yards, first up the right side, then with a cutback to the left for a kickoff-return touchdown just 19 seconds into the game.
“I just saw a bunch of my teammates out there blocking for me and I just knew right then I was going to score,” Strong said. “They were working hard, so was I.”
Evan Strong and his brother Isaiah, a senior, combined to score Pullman’s first four touchdowns (three by Evan Strong), and the 2A Greyhounds led 28-0 after the first quarter.
They carried a 42-0 advantage into the locker room against their 3A opponents, allowing for a running clock in the second half.
The Strong brothers were clicking for the Hounds. Evan Strong racked up more than 200 all-purpose yards (89 rushing), and Isaiah Strong did a little bit of everything, with 64 yards of offense and a 40-yard interception return on defense. He even attempted a pass that narrowly fell incomplete.
“(Isaiah) does a lot of things for us for us,” Pullman coach David Cofer said. “It’s not every day that you get a dude like that, so our ability to move him around in our offense really makes us dynamic.
“(Evan’s) becoming more patient. ... He’s really ahead of schedule for us. He’s seeing the holes really well.”
As much as Pullman (2-0) was strolling on offense, it was the defense that kept putting the Greyhounds in great field position. North Central (0-2) wasn’t in positive yardage on offense until the final minute of the first half, and the Greyhounds held bruising running back Cade Garvey to 10 yards on 19 rushes.
Cofer highlighted defensive end Ryan Colon Fee on defense. The 220-pound senior recovered a fumble early in the first half and was in on numerous plays in the North Central backfield.
In total, the Greyhounds stuffed the Indians behind the line of scrimmage nine times, forced two fumbles and picked off two passes.
“When the defensive line is attacking like that, it’s really hard for a quarterback to get comfortable, and that’s our ultimate goal,” Cofer said. “Our guys really buy into that mentality.
“Ryan Colon coming off the edge tonight, this was his first action this year and he really was a difference-maker up front for us.”
Pullman’s sophomore quarterback Riley Pettitt went 10-of-16 passing for 144 yards and a touchdown in a game where the Greyhounds mostly kept the ball on the ground.
For the Indians, receiver Ian Cady led with three catches for 35 yards. North Central used two quarterbacks with sophomores Ryan Dewey and Carter Strom combining for 35 yards and two interceptions, both by Strom.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster for us,” Evan Strong said of the win. “We’re a really talented team, we have a lot of chemistry and I think we’re going to do good going forward.”
NOTES — Five different players carried the ball and five caught passes for the Greyhounds … ISAIAH STRONG spent one series at quarterback, resulting in a nine-play, four-minute drive capped by a Bogey Perkins touchdown … Kicker MITCH LAVIELLE was a perfect 7 of 7 of PATs … The shutout was Pullman’s first since a 15-0 win against Cheney in 2016.
N. Central 0 0 0 0—0
Pullman 28 14 0 7—49
PULLMAN — Evan Strong 89 kick off return (Mitch LaVielle kick), 11:41.
PULLMAN — Isaiah Strong 2 pass from Riley Pettitt (LaVielle kick), 9:52.
PULLMAN — Evan Strong 16 run (LaVielle kick), 5:34.
PULLMAN — Evan Strong 12 run (LaVielle kick), 2:23.
PULLMAN — Bogey Perkins 4 run (LaVielle kick), 8:00.
PULLMAN — Jason Tran 3 run (LaVielle kick), 4:15.
PULLMAN — Jason Tran 4 run (LaVielle kick), 2:25.
RUSHING — North Central: Kade Garvey 15-10, Ryan Dewey 3-9, Ian Hicks 1-(-3), Carter Strom 1-(-4). Pullman: Evan Strong 13-89, Isaiah Strong 4-31, Jason Tran 9-29, Perkins 4-12, Justin Tran 1-1.
PASSING — North Central: Strom 4-12-2—10, Dewey 2-5-0—25. Pullman: Pettitt 10-16-0—144, Isaiah Strong 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING — North Central: Ian Cady 3-35, Hicks 1-2, Garvey 2-(-2). Pullman: Ethan Kramer 3-39, Sam Tingstad 2-33, Isaiah Strong 2-33, Evan Strong 2-27, Jason Tran 1-11.