Post Falls Set To Take Another Crack At State
As it turned out, it was just the Post Falls Trojans’ pride, not their football playoff hopes, that was bruised six weeks ago.
Post Falls figured to defend its Inland Empire League championship when it took on the Lewiston Bengals the fourth week of the season.
Four quarters later, however, Lewiston was well on its way to easily winning the league title with an impressive, if not shocking, 49-6 statement.
Since then, Post Falls has pieced together its pride, added some diversity to a one-dimensional offense and pulled off a minor upset at Sandpoint last week.
And look who’s back in the playoffs.
Did we say back? Post Falls never left, really. For a fifth straight year, the Trojans are in the A-1 Division II playoffs.
Post Falls wants an opportunity to prove it is not 43 points worse than Lewiston.
First, though, the Trojans (8-1 overall) must pull off a road victory Friday night at Eagle (8-1), the Boise area’s top-seeded team. Kickoff is at 6 PDT.
Lewiston’s quest to return to the state championship game for a fourth time in the last five years begins Friday when the second-ranked Bengals (9-0) play hosts to Nampa (3-6), the No. 3-seeded team from the Boise area. The game is scheduled for 7.
In another playoff opener Friday, Lakeside (8-1) will meet Genesee (6-2) in an A-4 eight-man game at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m.
In A-2 openers Saturday, Intermountain League champion Bonners Ferry (5-4) is host to Middleton (7-2) at 1 p.m.. An hour earlier in Boise, St. Maries (6-3) takes on No. 2-ranked Bishop Kelly (9-0).
A-1 Division II
It’s a playoff-experience team against a first-time qualifier when the Trojans and Mustangs clash.
The majority of Post Falls’ 26 seniors are making their third straight trip to the playoffs. Eagle, the third A-1 school in the Meridian School District, is just in its second year of existence.
“It’s an advantage,” Post Falls coach Jerry Lee said. “They know the routine and they’ve traveled well. Our kids are jacked about traveling.”
And the Trojans’ motivation to beat Eagle is simple: They want to play Lewiston again.
Lee advanced the motivation another step.
“All along our goal has been to get to the big game - the state championship,” said Lee, whose team has been stopped one game short of the state title contest the past two years after suffering heartbreaking losses in the semifinals.
Eagle has done a 180-degree turn from its first season when it posted a 1-8 record. Leading a balanced Mustangs offense have been quarterback Tyler Moyer and halfback Scott Thompson.
Eagle will have to do what just one team - Lewiston - has been able to accomplish: contain standout running back Josh Mort.
Mort gained 202 yards against Sandpoint to push his season total to 1,787 on 235 carries (7.6 per carry). He has scored 25 touchdowns.
What has made Mort even more difficult to stop has been the development of junior quarterback Adam Fehling. And the Trojans have received effective running from fullbacks Josh Dolan and Matt Curlee, especially when defenses are spying on Mort.
If the trend continues, it’ll be short playoff appearances for the IML teams.
Snake River Valley teams have owned IML teams lately. With the IML down this year, SRV teams are not only expected to triumph Saturday, but they could do so in impressive fashion.
If Bonners Ferry is able to stay close to Middleton late into the game, perhaps the Badgers will be able to find some more magic at home. Bonners Ferry pulled off huge victories over Lakeland (22-20) and St. Maries (29-28) at home.
Middleton earned a playoff berth last week with an impressive 42-21 win over traditional power Weiser.
“I expect us to be tough at home,” Bonners Ferry coach Ted Reynolds said.
St. Maries coach Curt Carr knows his young team is probably an off-the-board underdog against Bishop Kelly. But he’s tickled his club survived the three-team tiebreaker Tuesday - largely because the playoff experience should greatly benefit his team as it looks to next year.
North Star League teams have historically held their own in playoff openers against Whitepine League runners-up. This time should be no exception.
Although the state’s smallest division features eight-on-eight players, the game could boil down to four-on-one. At least that’s the way Lakeside coach Ron Miller sees it.
“We’ve got to stop their quarterback (Kyle Morscheck) because he likes to get out and do things one-on-one,” Miller said. “But we think we’ve got about four players they have to worry about.”
Genesee will be without standout running back Jeremy Spencer. Spencer attends Logos, a private school in Moscow. He was allowed to play at Genesee during the regular season under a co-op agreement but cannot do so in playoff games.
The chore will be monumental for the team that wins. Next up is a likely matchup with defending state champion Deary. Genesee lost twice to Deary, 48-0 and 38-6.