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Vikings fall to Eagle

Coeur d'Alene and Eagle hooked up in an entertaining State 5A semifinal Friday night at Viking Field. The game had a little of everything -- snow, big plays from both offenses and the lead flip-flopped back and forth -- but it was Eagle escaping with a 25-21 victory that ended CdA's season.

Read an unedited game story below.


By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Three times Coeur d’Alene High took the lead in its State 5A semifinal football game. Once in the second quarter, again in the third and once more late in the fourth quarter.

Each time, the Eagle Mustangs responded with a touchdown drive. The last, fueled by Dillon Lukehart’s 46-yard run on a broken play, helped the Mustangs to a hard-fought 25-21 victory Friday night at snowy Viking Field.

“The only disappointing thing is to lose it on a fumbled snap, but it was a great battle,” said head coach Shawn Amos, whose Vikings finished 7-4.

Eagle (10-1) will play Capital (11-0) for the state championship Friday at Bronco Stadium in Boise.

“The fans got their money’s worth, that’s for sure,” Eagle coach Paul Peterson said.

Despite an inch or two of snow and muddy conditions in the middle of the field, the teams produced a well-played game with numerous big plays and relatively few mistakes.

Quarterback Ryan Dunton had a pair of third-down completions as CdA marched 62 yards, capped by Zach Keiser’s 1-yard plunge that gave the Vikings a 21-19 lead with 4:36 remaining.

Eagle’s answer was swift. After returning the kickoff to its 42, Eagle faced third-and-2 at midfield. The snap from center squirted past quarterback Taylor Kelly, but Lukehart alertly scooped up the ball and dashed around left end for 46 yards. Lukehart scored on the ensuing play, giving Eagle a 25-21 lead after the two-point attempt failed.

“Our running back picked it up,” Peterson said, “and we got lucky.”

Coeur d’Alene faced fourth-and-4 at its 36 on its final possession. Jake Matheson nearly made a first-down reception, but the ball was jarred loose as he landed.

Eagle finished with 481 total yards. The Nevada-bound Kelly passed for 199 yards, including an 83-yard strike to Jordan Thompson that opened the scoring, and Lukehart gained 211 yards on 22 carries.

“You go in with the game plan to take away No. 10 (Kelly) as much as you can, but when you key on one guy you have to give up something,” Amos said.

Eagle had a similar approach. The Mustangs focused on stopping Keiser, who was limited to 36 yards on 12 attempts, but Dunton broke loose for 81 yards rushing and 189 passing.

The Vikings had just 28 total yards in the first half, but 258 in the second half. CdA took its first lead, 7-6, after Cade Mendoza’s interception and 16-yard return to the Mustangs’ 15. Dunton hit Deon Watson for a 15-yard scoring play.

Lukehart had the first of his two rushing touchdowns to return the lead to Eagle, 12-7.

Dunton scored on a keeper late in the third quarter, but Eagle took the lead back with an 80-yard scoring drive. It looked like the Vikings would answer but Dunton was stripped of the ball after a 20-yard run inside the Mustangs’ 10 and Eagle recovered early in the fourth quarter.


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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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