Top-ranked and unbeaten Coeur d’Alene got the kind of high school football game it has been looking for all season in Friday night’s quarterfinals of the Idaho 5A state playoffs.
Visiting Mountain View throttled CdA’s high-octane offense for most of the first half and forced the Vikings to reach a little deeper than they had previously in racing past nine straight opponents and claiming another Inland Empire League title.
But in the end, courtesy of a 98-yard scoring drive in the final 1 minute, 12 seconds of the first half and a pair of touchdowns that came within a 90-second span in the third quarter, the Vikings were able to turn back the Mavericks 27-14. The victory earned CdA (10-0) the opportunity to host next Friday’s semifinal against Capital, which posted a 58-26 quarterfinal win over Skyline.
“We responded,” Vikings coach Shawn Amos said. “People were saying, ‘Oh, they didn’t have a (close) game all year. They’re not going to be ready.’ But we knew our kids were going to be ready for this. They wanted a game like this. They were looking forward to it.”
Mountain View (7-3), which is normally a run-first team, surprised Coeur d’Alene by throwing 39 passes. The Mavericks grabbed an early 7-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Kal Turner to Hansen Logan with just under 4 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Vikings answered with an 8-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Chad Chalich to Joe Roletto late in the second quarter, but had their conversion kick blocked. They were still trailing 7-6 when they were pinned back on their own two-yard line by a Maverick punt 72 seconds prior to intermission.
Some teams might have taken a knee at that point, but Amos decided to step on the gas. And his decision proved brilliant as Chalich engineered a spectacular drive that was capped by a 30-yard scoring pass to Jackson Carlson with 21 seconds left in the half.
Carlson had just been called up from the junior varsity to replace Addison Johnson, who suffered a concussion in last Friday’s 62-21 rout of Lake City.
“That was a big drive, obviously,” Amos said. “That was a sophomore that just got moved up, and for him to get the touchdown catch was pretty cool. That was a big-time play for a sophomore to make in the playoffs.”
Carlson’s catch seemed to recharge the Vikings, who came out and scored two more touchdowns on passes from Chalich to Deon Watson. The first scoring play came from nine yards out with 3:24 left in the third quarter, and the second from three yards out with 2 minutes remaining.
“It was huge,” Chalich, who had another big game by completing 26 of 39 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns, said of Carlson’s grab. “Most people say getting a 99-yard drive is next to impossible, and we did it in a minute.”
“Our up-tempo offense helped us do it, and that got us momentum going into halftime.”
Bubba Duran proved to be Chalich’s favorite target on this night, hauling in 10 passes for 109 yards. But Watson was also a major factor with seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
And the Vikings’ defense played “as usual,” according to Amos.
“We just have all facets of our game going,” he added. “We’re not just relying on any one thing or one guy, which is what makes us good.”