Bulldogs Confident They’ll Win Championship
Milk Bowl preview
How confident is Sandpoint High standout wide receiver Caleb Bowman heading into the State A-1 Division II championship game Friday?
The Bulldogs’ opponents might as well have the words “Next Victim” printed across their jerseys.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We just have to show up. I know we’ll be ready to play,” Bowman said.
Second-ranked Sandpoint (8-3 overall) meets unranked Eagle (8-3) at Boise State University’s Bronco Stadium in one of six Milk Bowl ‘97 showdowns at three sites this weekend. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MST.
Bowman and his teammates believe Inland Empire League play and playoff games against IEL foes Lewiston and Lake City have prepared them for the state finale. They wonder if they’ve already played the toughest competition in the state.
The Bulldogs aren’t cocky, mind you. They just believe that the only way they’ll stumble is if they trip over their own feet.
“I think we’ll come back with gold,” Bowman said. “We just have to go do it.”
“We’ll have our focus,” added inside linebacker Brandon Jacobson. “I have no concerns at all. We just have to execute the game plan.”
Left guard Pat Williams agrees.
“If we play well I don’t think Eagle can beat us,” he said.
Sandpoint school officials worked frantically for three days to put together a plan to fly the Bulldogs to Boise. The plan called for sending the 61 players and a dozen coaches and managers on two flights.
When coach Satini Puailoa presented the option to his team Wednesday, the players voted it down and requested to travel on buses. They wanted to make the trip together and keep their focus.
Doesn’t sound like a team that’s overconfident. It sounds like a team that’s hungry to win one more game.
Sandpoint faces a team that’s had an up-and-down season. Eagle opened with back-to-back losses and dropped to 3-3 when it fell 28-20 to lower-division finisher Mountain Home.
The Mustangs finished the regular season with three straight wins, including a playoff-qualifying win over Nampa (28-21), a team Lewiston hammered 55-21 in the first round of the playoffs.
Eagle is led by senior quarterback Tyler Moyer, a two-year starter. James Juring handles the bulk of the rushing duties.
The Mustangs’ strength recently has been defense. Eagle stopped Hillcrest’s come-from-behind attempts in a 27-12 decision last week.
Eagle, in just its third year of existence, qualified for the playoffs last year. The Eagles fell to eventual state champ Lewiston 41-35 in the semifinals.
“I think we’re very similar (to last year),” Eagle coach Mike Glenn said. “The only thing we really lack from last year is big-play people. We’re a little more methodical moving he ball down the field.”
Glenn said the key to the season has been moving several players around to shore up weaknesses.
“Once we made some decisions and moved some players around we started to become more team-oriented,” Glenn said.
In other Milk Bowl finals Friday:
Deary (10-0) will be seeking a third state championship since 1993 when it meets Cambridge (11-0) in the A-4 eight-man championship at the University of Idaho’s Kibbie Dome. Kickoff is set for 5:30.
It’s an eastern Idaho matchup in the A-1 Division I title contest. Highland (11-0), top-ranked all season, meets Idaho Falls (8-3) at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena.
Highland will be seeking a record fifth state title. Highland and Idaho Falls are playing for the second time in three weeks. In a regular-season finale, Highland topped Idaho Falls 32-14.
In the A-4 11-man showdown, No. 1-ranked Hagerman (10-0) meets defending champion Mackay (6-2) at Holt Arena.
In championship contests Saturday, second-ranked Weiser (8-3) meets No. 4 Marsh Valley (10-1) in the A-2 final at Holt Arena.
Weiser advanced with a victory over Lakeland. Marsh Valley recorded a big upset with a 17-14 win over two-time state champ and previously undefeated Snake River.
The A-3 title game at Holt Arena features two teams that weren’t postseason qualifiers last year - No. 1-ranked Homedale (11-0) and unranked Firth (10-1).
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:
MILK BOWL SCHEDULE
The schedule for the Idaho State High School football championships this weekend:
A-1 Division I
Highland (11-0) vs. Idaho Falls (8-3) at Holt Arena.
A-1 Division II
Sandpoint vs. Eagle at Bronco Stadium, Boise State University, 6:30 p.m. MST
Hagerman (10-0) vs. Mackay (6-2) at Holt Arena.
Deary (10-0) vs. Cambridge (11-0) at the Kibbie Dome, 5:30 p.m. PST
A-2 Weiser (8-3) vs. Marsh Valley at Holt Arena.
A-3 Homedale (11-0) vs. Firth (10-1) at Holt Arena.
This sidebar appeared with the story: MILK BOWL SCHEDULE The schedule for the Idaho State High School football championships this weekend:
Friday’s games A-1 Division I Highland (11-0) vs. Idaho Falls (8-3) at Holt Arena. A-1 Division II Sandpoint vs. Eagle at Bronco Stadium, Boise State University, 6:30 p.m. MST A-4 11-man Hagerman (10-0) vs. Mackay (6-2) at Holt Arena. A-4 Eight-Man Deary (10-0) vs. Cambridge (11-0) at the Kibbie Dome, 5:30 p.m. PST
Saturday’s games A-2 Weiser (8-3) vs. Marsh Valley at Holt Arena. A-3 Homedale (11-0) vs. Firth (10-1) at Holt Arena.