Lee: CdA Vikings continue to impress

Perhaps the best football team in the region this year doesn’t reside in the Greater Spokane League.

I suspect that team is about 32 miles east of Spokane.

We can’t know if Coeur d’Alene is truly the best team in the area because the GSL and Inland Empire League teams aren’t playing this year as they have in recent seasons. I’d love to see a game between Ferris and Coeur d’Alene. That would settle the question for me.

Over in Idaho, Coeur d’Alene is making a case that it’s one of the best teams in the state, if not the best. Last Friday, the Vikings (4-1) knocked off No. 1-ranked Rocky Mountain of Meridian 34-22. CdA moved from fifth to second in the poll this week.

Senior wide receiver/ defensive back Jake Matheson intercepted three passes against Rocky Mountain, his final two in the fourth quarter preserving the victory and stopping deep drives. Matheson tied the school’s single-game record, is tied for the season mark (eight) and broke the career mark (10). He has 12.

Matheson also leads the Vikings in receptions (20). He would be the early candidate for team most valuable player.

A scholar-student, Matheson is being recruited by Ivy League and Big Sky schools.

The Vikings have a nonleague schedule that has prepared them well for upcoming league play. Last month, they traveled to Vancouver, Wash., to play Skyview, the team Ferris beat in the semifinals last year in a wildly entertaining game. CdA opened a 17-0 lead but couldn’t hold on as the Storm rallied for a 36-34 win.

Still, CdA coach Shawn Amos took a lot of positives out of the game. The Vikings lost their left tackle and left guard. Then they lost their backup left tackle. They were down to their third-string left tackle.

“That’s typically not good to be down to your third-string left tackle,” Amos quipped. “But the kids never panicked. They kept playing. Even though we lost, it showed a lot about the character of our guys.”

I asked Amos a point-blank question: Is this his best team at CdA?

The best team he had prior to this season was 2004 when CdA played in the state championship game. But this year’s team has the potential to be as good, Amos says.

“We have more talent, more athletes than that team,” Amos said.

First the Vikings must get through the rest of their October schedule, beginning with three straight road games. CdA travels to undefeated and third-ranked Vallivue of Caldwell on Friday, followed by league games at Lewiston and Post Falls before concluding at home against crosstown rival Lake City.

“Our league is a gauntlet,” Amos said. “If you start thinking you’ve arrived, you’re in trouble. I think we can win the rest of our games, but every team can beat us, too.”

He likes the vibe his team is putting off.

“I feel really good about the mindset and the work ethic and how much these kids care about each other,” Amos said. “They know we’ve got something special going on.”

So Amos is hopeful his team doesn’t start reading its headlines.

“To me we’re still a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve got to finish the season. I’m sure Lake City, Post Falls and Lewiston aren’t going to just give it to us. I think they expect us to show up and play. We feel good but we’re far from feeling like we’ve arrived.”

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