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Vikings blast Lake City to win IEL crown

Everything pretty much played out as expected Thursday night as visiting Coeur d’Alene steamrolled Lake City 62-21 to claim the Inland Empire League 5A championship and earn the right to host a first-round playoff game next Friday.

The unbeaten and top-ranked Vikings (9-0 overall, 3-0 IEL) made an early statement with a long touchdown drive on their first possession and never let the Timberwolves (5-5, 1-2) up for air in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Senior quarterback Chad Chalich threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score, while senior running back Carlos Martinez rushed for 107 yards on 15 carries and scored four touchdowns. The Vikings’ defense also did its share of heavy lifting, and came up with five big turnovers in the process.

While hardly unexpected, CdA’s victory was appreciated by head coach Shawn Amos and his players.

“It’s great any time you win the league and get to host the first round of the playoffs,” Amos said. “And I think we came out of the game pretty healthy, so all of that is good.”

The considerable contributions of Chalich and Martinez came as no shock.

“That’s who we’ve been riding all year,” Amos said. “But we have a number of players that can contribute, and that’s what makes us a good football team.”

This one was settled long before intermission, as the Vikings put together a 67-yard, 11-play scoring drive on the opening possession, and the added two touchdowns – one courtesy of Gunnar Amos’ 48-yard interception return – just a little more than 5 minutes into the game.

Amos’ big play was sandwiched between Chalich’s 6-yard scoring run and his 26-yard touchdown pass to Bubba Durran, giving CdA an early 21-0 lead.

Chalich connected with Duran for another touchdown, this one from 23 yards out, early in the second quarter. Martinez gave the Vikings a 35-14 lead with a 50-yard scoring run down the right sideline, serving as an emphatic answer to Lake City’s 85-yard scoring pass from Brice Shipley to Danny Brum just 24 seconds earlier.

Martinez added his second touchdown on a 4-yard run later in the period and Parker Wilson gave CdA its 48-14 halftime lead by connecting on a pair of midrange field goals, one from 38 yards as time expired in the half.

“Any time you come out and make an early statement like we did tonight, it helps,” said Chalich, who completed 24 of 35 passes without getting sacked. “It puts your opponent on their heels and gives you all the momentum and makes things a lot easier.”