SPOKANE -- All eyes were on quarterbacks Matt Mendenhall and Conner Johnson when Southridge traveled to University for a 3A state play-in football game Friday.
In the end, the Titans secondary couldn't keep track of the Suns receivers and Mendenhall took advantage.
The CBBN's leading 3A passer with 1,964 yards threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns and ran 15 yards for the winning score as Southridge (7-3) rallied for a 31-27 victory Friday night and a state berth..
His counterpart at U-Hi, Johnson, didn't do badly either.
In the final game of his high school career, Johnson rushed for 188 yards and two TDs, passed for 187 and the other two. But several drops by his normally sure-handed receivers in the first half conspired against U-Hi.
Still, Johnson rallied the Titans (5-5) from 10-0 behind to a 20-10 lead after three quarters.
But there was no stopping Mendenhall. His passes weren't always pretty, but effective. Several times it seemed he just fired the ball up for grabs and it was his receivers who grabbed it.
And when the Titans took a 27-24 lead with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game, Mendenhall carved up the home team through the air, covering 68 yards in just 40 seconds to lead for good.
U-Hi made a last-ditch effort to pull out a win going from its 26 to the Southridge 21 in a little over a minute, only to run out of downs.
Southridge broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter following a Titan fumble at midfield. A 33-yard Mendenhall completion set up a field goal.
Southridge receivers Paul Richards (12 catches, 152 yards) and Paul Hamada (6 for 107) did most of the damage.
Southridge 31, University 27
Southridge 0 10 0 21 -- 31
University 0 7 13 7 -- 27
S--Josh Richards 8 pass from Matt Mendenhall (Mertens kick)
S--Chandler Mertens 34 FG
Uni-- Bruce 24 pass from Johnson (Martin kick)
Uni-- Johnson 47 run (Martin kick)
Uni--Bruce 6 pass from Johnson (failed kick)
S--Chris Haueter 54 pass from Mendenhall (Mertens kick)
S-- Haueter 1 run (Mertens kick)
Uni-- Johnson 10 run (Martin kick)
S-- Mendenhall 14 run (Mertens kick)
RUSHING--S, Haueter 12-28, Kadin Diaz 5-18, Mendenhall 4-14. Uni, Bruce 11-53, Solomon 4-28, Westberg 4-45, Johnson 21-188.
PASSING--S, Mendenhall 23-40-0-343. Uni, Johnson 16-33-0-187.
RECEIVING--S, Haueter 1-54, Clay Gonzalez 1-9, Schmerer 1-7, Richards 12-152, Paul Hamada 6-107, Brenden Kelly 2-14. Uni, Flynn 3-26, Hundeby 2-32, Bush 2-42, McDonald 2-14, Bruce 7-73.
FIRST DOWNS--S 16 , Uni 23. FUMBLES-LOST--S 1-0, Uni 1-1. PENALTIES-YARDS--S 5-45, Uni 6-45.