November 1, 2012 in Sports

CdA Vikings count on two-way starter Mahaffy

Gregl@Spokesman.Com (509) 844-8168
 
Kathy Plonka photoBuy this photo

Running back/safety Reece Mahaffy would be all smiles if Coeur d’Alene can win three more games and another Idaho 5A football championship.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Idaho 5A quarterfinal

Rocky Mountain at CdA

Records: Grizzlies (6-3), Vikings (7-2)

When: Friday, 7

Road to postseason: Coeur d’Alene captured the 5A Inland Empire League title and followed that up with a 34-7 win over Lewiston in a play-in game last week. Rocky Mountain got out to a 6-0 start, but goes into the playoffs with three straight losses.

Statistical leaders: Rocky Mountain is led QB Riley Bradshaw (1,515 yards) and running back Dakota Weindell (761). CdA QB Gunnar Amos has thrown for 2,008 yards and 19 TDs while rushing for 580 and nine TDs. Addison Johnson leads all receivers with 39 catches.

At a glance: The two-time defending state champion Vikings are definitely not as powerful as the CdA team that went 12-0 last year. But they will be difficult to knock out, especially at home. The Vikings’ offensive line is dinged up and coach Shawn Amos hopes the patch work he’s done this week holds up.

Reece Mahaffy likes to think of himself as his own person – cut from a different cloth, as it were.

On the football field, though, the Coeur d’Alene senior is much like the players who have made the Vikings highly successful the past three years. He’s fast and on the small side at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds.

“He’s exactly that kind of player,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said. “But he’s also a goofball. He’s a classic.”

The two-time defending 5A state champ Vikings haven’t mowed over

opponents in the literal sense the past two years. They’ve run through and around them. During the Vikings’ encore last year, CdA ran the table to a 12-0 record. Mahaffy started at safety and ended up being the fourth-leading tackler behind three seniors. He was named to the All-Idaho second team.

So it might make sense that Mahaffy would probably be CdA’s leading tackler this year. Yes, if he played the same position he played last year.

Mahaffy was moved to outside linebacker and spends most of his time defending on the weak side. That means his first priority is defending the run and beating feet to defend the pass. His coaches knew he’d make a seamless transition.

He’s the third-leading tackler this year. Senior Brennen Kane, who starts in Mahaffy’s old position, is the team leader.

Mahaffy is just fine with his defensive role on the team. After all, it’s about the team, not him.

His playing time has doubled this year as a two-way starter. On offense, he started the year at wide receiver, but moved to running back midway when junior Marques Mort suffered a back injury.

Mahaffy leads CdA in scoring with 12 touchdowns. He’s rushed for a team high 661 yards and has 15 catches for 231.

He’s been CdA’s most valuable player and a candidate for the league honor.

“He’s become a guy we don’t want to take off the field,” Amos said. “He could play a lot of different places. We moved him to outside backer because that’s where we needed him the most. We needed him closer to the action.”

Mahaffy enjoys playing defense more than offense.

“I like hitting people more than being hit,” he said.

Without a doubt, Mahaffy plays two of the most demanding positions, and the two that involve the most collisions. That’s fine with him. He has a lunch-pail mentality and sees himself as a grinder.

Year after year, Mahaffy’s body is telling him that he’s taken more hits.

“I feel it more this year than last year at this time,” he said. “I have more aches and pains and little injuries.”

Two weeks ago when CdA clinched the league championship against Lake City, Mahaffy suffered bruised ribs and missed the final 1 1/2 quarters. He returned Friday when the Vikings earned a state playoff win against Lewiston.

He’s also stepped up as a leader. He watched it modeled by seniors last year and knew he would need to step up this season.

“It’s something I embraced this year,” Mahaffy said. “You’re not told you have to be a leader, but it’s expected. I like guys rallying around me. I’m not vocal. I lead by example.”

Although he was very much a part of last year’s state title team, Mahaffy wants to finish his career with one of his own.

CdA has rebounded from its midseason swoon when the Vikings were pummeled by Washington 4A power Skyline of Sammamish 71-20 and played especially poorly the following week in a loss to Highland of Pocatello (45-26).

Mahaffy believes CdA can defend its title.

“It would be so cool to win my senior year,” he said. “To be able to win three (titles) in a row would be awesome, because it’s never been done in Idaho. Being part of something like that would really be special.”

Mahaffy said it will take focus and hard work.

“We’re definitely not as good as last year. We’re a different team,” Mahaffy said. “We have a lot less experience and fewer seniors than we had last year. We had the type of team last year that could score and score and score. This year we’re a grind it out type of team.”

It reflects Mahaffy’s personality and the personality of the senior class.

“We’ve never had a losing season,” Mahaffy said. “We’re not as good as last year’s senior class and we haven’t had the success at the lower levels like this year’s juniors.”

All they’ve done is won.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus