I have no hope for a comeback unless it starts this week.
SWX sports director Sam Adams had another perfect week. That puts me in a three-game hole as we start the postseason.
There may not be enough weeks left for a comeback. But I have to start somewhere and I fear I’ll have to make some picks I otherwise wouldn’t make.
Which, when you think about how my season has gone, might not be a bad thing.
Gooding at Timberlake, Saturday, 1
Lee: Gooding has one of the best mascots – Senators. Timberlake has had an interesting season, losing its first six but winning its last three. Timberlake didn’t play teams from its classification until the final three league games. The Tigers had a difficult nonleague schedule. Still, Timberlake must continue to play like it has the last three weeks to have a chance. Gooding’s losses were to four teams with a combined three losses. For this election, I can’t vote for the Senators. Timberlake, 29-20.
Adams: Both teams enter the postseason on a tear, a combined seven straight wins between them to overcome slow starts. The big difference here is strength of schedule. Gooding has played each of the top four teams in the current Idaho 3A state rankings, losing to No. 1 Shelley and No. 2 Kimberly by a total of 10 points while also falling to No. 3 Fruitland 28-14 and No. 4 South Fremont 42-41. In other words, all of Gooding’s losses have come against the best in Idaho. Timberlake couldn’t have gotten a worse draw to start the playoffs. Gooding, 35-21.
Blackfoot at Lakeland, Friday, 7
Lee: The Hawks are much better than their 5-4 record shows. Three losses have been by a combined four points. The 41-17 spanking from Clarkston came the week after Lakeland had clinched its playoff berth and first-round bye. I suspect the players weren’t as focused as they were against Sandpoint. Lakeland must play well don’t get me wrong, but isn’t that true this time of the year anyway. I know didly about Blackfoot other than the Broncos play in a traditionally good league in eastern Idaho. Lakeland benefits from playing at home. Lakeland, 26-17.
Adams: Lakeland’s three-game win streak came to a screeching halt in a 41-17 loss to Clarkston to end the regular season. Now the Hawks will have had two weeks to put that loss in the rearview and take on Blackfoot to start the 4A playoffs. They host a tough program that is just outside of the state rankings and has won three in a row to get here. I believe it will be four wins in a row for the Broncos. Blackfoot, 28-14.
Rocky Mountain vs. Lewiston, Friday, Kibbie Dome, 7
Lee: The Bengals will have revenge on the mind. The Grizzlies pummeled Lewiston 65-20 last year on their way to the state title. This is a much better Lewiston team, no doubt. QB Colton Richardson has thrown for 3,157 yards. The bye week helped Lewiston heal up. Lewiston will move on. Lewiston, 42-20.
Adams: Lewiston had some pretty audacious goals this year: win the IEL, beat Coeur d’Alene, go undefeated… and the Bengals have passed each and every test so far. The Bengals’ reward? A first-round bye in the 5A playoffs, followed by a quarterfinal inside the Kibbie Dome Friday. Rocky Mountain comes in with a full head of steam, shutting out its last two opponents by a combined score of 74-0. I’m going to go with Lewiston here, and I think it will play out very similarly to its barnburner against Coeur d’Alene in the regular season. Lewiston, 45-40.
Coeur d’Alene at Eagle, Friday, 5
Lee: The Mustangs have been ranked No. 1 since early in the season when the Vikings fell out of the spot. CdA romped over Borah 54-13 and Eagle defeated Borah 35-7. What can’t be factored in is what effect the road trip had on Borah. I suspect not much. If CdA gets out of its way – read clean up the penalties – it can win this game. I don’t think Eagle has played against a QB as good as Colson Yankoff. CdA, 30-24.
Adams: This would’ve made for a tremendous 5A state championship game, but we’ll have to settle for a heck of a quarterfinal game instead. CdA has scored 30 or more points in every game this season, including 48 or more in each of its last four games. Now, after a resounding 54-13 win over Borah in their playoff opener, the Vikings travel to take on the No. 1 team in Idaho, which enjoyed a first-round bye. The Viks have a lot going against them, but I’m still going to go with the upset here and try to force Greg to pick against his hometown team. CdA, 28-25.
Central Valley vs. Richland, Lampson Stadium, Friday, 7
Lee: The Bears had their hands full last week and it doesn’t get any easier Friday, especially on the road. CV and Richland played in a playoff opener last year and the Bears had all sorts of difficulties defending quarterback Paxton Stevens in a 30-3 loss. The Bombers are ranked second. CV will have to play its best game of the season. When teams have to have that kind of error-free effort, mistakes tend to happen. And Richland has had an opportunistic defense. So I’m throwing all logic out and picking CV to play its best game. CV, 28-27.
Adams: First off, a big round of applause to the Bears to win pretty much every conceivable way to finish as the runner-up in the GSL behind Gonzaga Prep. CV bounced back from a blowout loss to CdA in its season opener to rip off eight straight wins before bowing to the league champs in a very respectable 28-19 defeat. They now face the unenviable task of traveling to take on the No. 2 team in the state. It would be a tall order for any team, and I think the Bears will put up a fight, but ultimately come up short against the Bombers. Richland, 24-13.
Chiawana at Gonzaga Prep, Friday, 6
Lee: The Bullpups’ defense will be tested. The Riverhawks have rode the shoulders of senior running back Andrew Vargas, who has gained 2,232 yards behind a solid line. And just try to sneak an extra body in the box to stop Vargas, Chiawana goes to its second best option – play-action passing. I like the makeup of this G-Prep team. I think the Bullpups have a run in them because, overall, the offense is better than last year and the defense is solid. G-Prep, 27-21.
Adams: Interesting note between these two top 10 teams: their three losses have come against No. 2 Richland (Chiawana lost, 21-14), No. 9 Skyline (G-Prep lost in OT, 26-23), and two-time 3A state champ Eastside Catholic (G-Prep lost, 21-7). That’s it. And I think both of these teams firmly believe they can make it to the state title game. Unfortunately, only one team can move on. I’ll give the nod to the home team so I don’t get booed out of the stadium upon arrival Friday evening for our SWX broadcast. And I think the Bullpups are pretty darn good. G-Prep, 21-17.
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