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Northwest Passages

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since 2017


With Karen Wickre and Tess Vigeland


Idaho preps: Playoff chase begins in earnest

Ah, there’s a chance for rain Friday, and the evening temperature should be about 20 degrees colder than a week ago.

It can only mean one thing – high school football games for area teams begin to carry postseason significance.

Among the four 5A Inland Empire League teams, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston have had successful starts to their season. They head into October with 3-1 records.

Lake City, which has made a living in October on its way to the state playoffs for 12 consecutive years, is still searching for a win after four games.

“It’s completely different being 0-4,” LC coach Van Troxel said. “We’re struggling. We’ve always had so much confidence and belief in what we’re doing. They’re working hard, but it’s a confidence thing.”

Post Falls visits Lake City in a league opener Friday.

Going into the season, Troxel expected Post Falls to be among the challengers for the league’s two 5A state playoff berths.

“They were one of the best teams at (summer) camp and they’re playing with that confidence,” Troxel said.

Post Falls coach Jeff Hinz came into the season with optimism.

“We thought we had the potential to do well,” Hinz said. “At camp, we showed some physical defensive play and some maturing on offense. This is what we expected. The kids are the ones who have done it.”

Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene had to rally late to beat 4A Sandpoint.

CdA stubbed its toe last week in a 41-13 loss at Centennial.

“We gave up way too many big plays,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said. “It was actually a good football game except for five or six plays.”

Amos has no complaints going into October.

“We’re very pleased with the direction of the team,” Amos said. “What we’re really happy with is the way the team is going about its work.”

Lewiston hasn’t played as tough a schedule as the other three teams, but Bengals coach Emmett Dougherty said his team needed to ease into the season.

“It’s been a good schedule for us because it’s allowed our young kids to get confidence,” Dougherty said. “We’re pretty young and we’re trying to get guys used to varsity competition.”

For Post Falls, a seasoned defense has allowed a young offense to grow.

“I think our kids have shown some promise,” Hinz said. “They’ve grown up through the season.”

Hinz believes LC will eventually find its way. He just hopes it doesn’t happen this week.

“Lake City has the potential to play well,” Hinz said.

Troxel has told his team as much.

“We’re getting closer,” Troxel said. “To play well, you have to be confident. There can’t be any doubt in your execution. If you hesitate, you get beat. That’s where we’re at right now. We’re playing hard, but we have that little hesitation.”

Big victory

Priest River’s football team had much to be excited about. The Spartans had started 3-0 and were ranked. They had reason to believe they could challenge for the Intermountain League title.

Then the team that’s dominated the IML this decade, Timberlake, came to town last Friday, dumping the Spartans 37-7.

“Our game plan was to put a lot of pressure on them offensively and defensively, and it worked,” Timberlake coach Roy Albertson said.

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