Spring game: Halliday leaves mark on Spokane

SPOKANE – The final memory Connor Halliday will have of playing in Joe Albi Stadium is a victory, even though it came against his own team. A fast start and a 300-yard passing day propelled the Spokane native and the rest of his Crimson team to a 23-19 victory over the Gray squad in Washington State's annual Crimson and Gray game.

"It's great; I've got good memories here," Halliday said of the stadium. "It's just kinda sad this will be the last time I ever play here, but it's nice that I got to play here four more times in college."

Halliday did all of his damage in the first half of Saturday's game, completing 25 of his 41 attempts for 326 yards and three touchdowns, as well as two interceptions.

"Spring games are always a little tough," Halliday said. "The team's split up and the offensive line isn't playing with the guys they've played with all spring, but overall I thought it went well. It was sloppy in spots, but you know, we got better today."

Halliday's first touchdown of the afternoon came on a goal-line fade from 2 yards out to Drew Loftus. A 42-yard bomb to sophomore receiver River Cracraft got the team into Gray territory and four plays later they were able to punch it in.

Loftus and Halliday teamed up for another touchdown in the first half. Halliday had to buy time for before finding the junior receiver in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard strike that put the Crimson team up 23-7 at halftime.

"Drew's been playing like that all spring," Halliday said. "He's a walk-on that's worked his butt off and it was nice to see him come out and play like that."

Loftus finished the day with six catches for 78 yards and the two scores.

On both of Halliday's interceptions, he went after Daquawn Brown and paid the price for it. Brown interrupted a pass Halliday intended for Cracraft on the first turnover, and stepped in front of potential touchdown to Loftus on the second.

Halliday said there was a miscommunication on the first interception; he anticipated Cracraft to run an inside post-pattern but instead he broke the route to the outside.

Coach Mike Leach said in regard to both interceptions that he thought Halliday was trying to make too much happen.

A 37-yard heave to senior receiver Vince Mayle served as Halliday's second score of the game to give his team a 16-7 lead.

Tyler Bruggman began the day at quarterback for the Gray team but failed to throw any touchdowns. An interception ended each of his three series.

"Tyler I thought was pressed most of the day," Leach said.

Bruggman was 12 of 28 on the afternoon with 154 yards passing and the three interceptions.

Freshman Luke Falk was more efficient, finishing 20 of 31 with 213 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought he started out slow and tentative," Leach said of Falk. "I thought he started slow, but I thought he recovered. Early on he worried about some things that he couldn't control but he did settle in and, I thought, did some good things."

Falk's touchdown came late in the second quarter on a 1-yard pass to Rickey Galvin, the only passing touchdown of the day for the Gray team. Galvin made three catches for 38 yards.

"Early on I need to get it going a little better, but on that third drive I started getting something going," Falk said, adding that he was both nervous and full of energy to begin the game.

Late in the second half, Calvin Green became one of Falk's favorite targets. He found the freshman receiver eight times, allowing Green to record a game-high 101 receiving yards.

"When you have a fast guy you want to get it to him," Falk said of Green. "So I just got it to him and he made plays and he did a great job today.

Green caught Leach's attention, as well.

"Explosive, fast, not afraid to play," Leach said in describing Green. "He's only been here two months; most people his age are thinking about who they're going to ask to prom and he's up here pounding away. (Green's) a real competitive, hard-working guy whose got some explosion to him.

"We're excited to see where we can take him here in the future."

On the ground, Leach said both Theron West and Jamal Morrow played well. Morrow had the longest run of the day, a 23-yard scamper early in the first quarter for the Gray team en route to finishing with 44 yards and five carries and two passes for 16 yards. West carried the ball for the Crimson team five times for 28 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards, and also had one fumble.

Gerard Wicks recorded the only rushing touchdowns of the day, both in the second half. The freshman running back had scores of 4 and 1 yard, respectively. He carried the ball five times for 16 yards and hauled in a 16-yard pass as well.

In the kicking game, Erik Powell went 1 of 1 on field goals and 2 of 3 on extra points. Powell knocked a 40-yard kick through the uprights for the first score of the game. A botched hold by Cracraft on an extra point was the only error on special teams.

NOTABLE NOTES
  • Mayle led the Crimson team in yards with 92 on six catches. His 37-yard TD catch was the longest scoring play of the day.

  • Leading the both squads in tackles was freshman linebacker Peyton Pelluer, who played on the Crimson team and finished the afternoon with eight. Sophomore safety David Bucannon tallied seven for the Gray squad.

  • The Cougars take the practice field for the final time this spring on Tuesday.

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