EAGLE, Idaho – Post Falls senior quarterback Dalton Thompson spent all night escaping trouble with his elusive, playmaking scrambles.
But on the game’s deciding sequence, the Eagle defense finally found a way to hem him in. Thompson was sacked on fourth down deep in Eagle territory – moments after his apparent game-tying touchdown pass was nullified by penalty – and the Mustangs escaped with a 35-21, first-round 5A State playoff victory Friday at Thunder Stadium.
“Just a couple plays made the difference,” Post Falls coach Jeff Hinz said. “Our kids kept trying to climb back into it, but in the end, we just fell a little bit short.”
Post Falls (5-5) rallied after falling in an early 14-0 hole. Thompson (162 total yards) and junior tailback Austin Jackson (103 yards rushing, two TDs) kept the Trojans in the game, spearheading a methodical, clock-chewing attack. The Trojans trimmed the deficit to 21-14 at halftime and then tied the score when Thompson burst 26 yards through the middle on a third-quarter draw play.
“Dalton has been a great player and a great leader for our program,” Hinz said. “He made big plays for us all year, and he’s going to be sorely missed.”
Eagle reclaimed a 28-21 lead with a third-quarter TD drive of its own – capped by QB Hunter Floyd’s second TD pass of the night – and appeared ready to pull away on its next possession when an 84-yard pass play set up first-and-goal at the 4.
But the Post Falls defense made a dramatic goal-line stand, and the offense responded with a long drive – aided by Kaden Nelson’s 27-yard run to convert a first down on a fake punt – to set up the decisive sequence.
Facing a fourth down inside Eagle’s 10 with less than 6 minutes remaining, Hinz originally sent out the field goal unit before calling timeout and reconsidering. Thompson had an incredible scramble and apparent touchdown pass nullified by an ineligible receiver downfield and, on the next play, Eagle finally sacked the elusive senior.
“I thought we were going to get it,” Hinz said.
“The way Eagle was moving the ball, we felt like we needed to get seven points.”
Eagle iced the game from there, with Floyd scoring a 9-yard TD run with 57 seconds left for the final margin.
Floyd finished with 114 yards on the ground, 160 through the air and three total TDs for Eagle (9-1), which outgained Post Falls 431-297.
Eagle advances to play Highland in next week’s quarterfinals, while Post Falls is eliminated after a surprise run to the postseason.
“We fought hard, we just didn’t come out with the win,” said Jackson, who leads a strong group of returning underclassmen for Post Falls.
“Our goal is to get back to state next year, and to win it.”
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