No one has been able to slow Coeur d’Alene High School’s dynamic passing game all fall.
So Mother Nature took her shot Friday night.
And like all of those who tried before, she failed, as the No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Vikings weathered cold temperatures, strong winds and a persistent, driving rain to roll past visiting Capital 37-7 in the semifinals of the State 5A football playoffs.
The lopsided win moved the defending state champion Vikings (11-0) into Friday’s 6 p.m. final at Bronco Stadium in Boise, where they will defend their title against Eagle, a 42-21 winner over Highland in Friday’s other semifinal.
“It bothered everybody,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said of the nasty weather conditions, “but our kids found a way to succeed. We have good football players, and they were excited to play in the rain and mud.
“I think it’s kind of a mind-set thing; you can make it what you want. But our kids came out, and you could tell they were ready to play.”
The Vikings (11-0) scored on their second possession, heading into a strong headwind, and then added three more second-quarter touchdowns with the wind to their backs to build a big 24-0 halftime lead over a big, physical Capital team (8-3) that just couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Then, following a long discussion with his assistant coaches at halftime, Amos opted to take the wind in the third quarter.
And his decision paid off when the Vikings’ defense stoned Captial on the opening possession of the third quarter and took advantage of one of several poor Eagle punts to tack on other touchdown on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Chad Chalich to Bubba Duran.
That score made it 31-0, and when Chalich – who completed 12 of 22 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns, connected with Addison Johnson on a 28-yard scoring strike later in the period, it was over.
“It was 24-0, so we thought we’d take (the wind) in the third quarter and try to put the thing away, because we knew it was going to be tough to score in the fourth,” Amos said. “It was a fairly long debate on what we were going to do, but we thought we’d take it and try to finish the thing off.”
Chalich’s three TD passes raised his season total to 39.
Senior running back Carlos Martinez led CdA’s ground game, churning out 108 yards on 20 carries. And Duran, a senior wide receiver and defensive back, had a big game, as well, catching two touchdown passes and scampering 47 yards for another score on a flanker reverse.
“That was the first time we’d run that play,” Duran said of his touchdown run, which required him to reverse his field and cover at least an addition 20 yards on his way to the end zone. “I just saw a block and decided to cut it back, and the blocking the rest of the way was great.”
When asked about the elements, Duran added, “It was rough out there. The ball was really slick. But it feels great to get a chance (to defend last year’s state title) after all the hard work we put it.”