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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Greg Lee: Post Falls victory was special for coach Jeff Hinz

In our business, we have to show no bias.

Now some of you may find that hard to believe, especially when it’s discovered where specifically some of us sportswriters live.

Would it matter if I lived near Mead or on the South Hill within the Ferris boundary? Not to me, but probably to some of you.

As it is, I live a half-mile from Lake City High. I’ve never dodged that in my years at the S-R. There was a time I was accused of being “Lake City Lee.” I persevered through the false accusations.

Still, I must admit a tiny tear formed in my eye when I heard that the Post Falls football team upset Coeur d’Alene to earn its first State 5A playoff berth.

What that meant is it was the first 5A berth for coach Jeff Hinz.

I go way back with Jeff. I covered him when he played wide receiver at Coeur d’Alene in the late 1980s.

Jeff is in his 10th year as the Trojans’ head coach. This is the first time he’s taken a team to the postseason.

Post Falls has had some close calls, losing in the final seconds to Lake City and losing in a three-way tiebreaker playoff. Each time I could sense that Jeff had been dealt a punch in the gut.

I was covering the Gonzaga Prep-Mead game Friday. I was interviewing Bullpups coach Dave McKenna afterward and shared the news about Post Falls.

McKenna and Hinz have become friends because of the Border League camp that has brought football coaches from Coeur d’Alene, Lake City, Ferris and Central Valley and others in between closer for a common cause.

So there was Hinz’s Trojans scoring on the game’s last play to pull within a point and then converting on the 2-point conversion to secure a playoff berth.

After some of the initial emotion wore off after the game, our Jim Meehan caught up with Hinz.

“After all the hard work, the couple of overtime challenges on Monday night, Van (Troxel, Lake City coach) once went for two to beat us, all that stuff, it’s just a great win for our team and our school,” Hinz said of finally breaking through.

After I had filed my game story from Albi Stadium, I called Troxel, whose team had secured the Inland Empire League 5A championship in a 61-20 win at Lewiston. He had just gotten off the phone with Hinz.

Troxel wanted to be one of the first from the coaching fraternity to call.

As joyous as the victory was for Hinz, he’s been in a battle more difficult than winning football games. He was diagnosed with cancer last November when he broke a leg while walking in his home. The bone had shattered because cancer had eaten it away.

Hinz has undergone some ultra-intense chemotherapy. He has used a couple of crutches this fall to balance his weight because his leg still isn’t strong enough, even with a rod inserted, for him to place full weight on it.

The battle to live continues.

For the moment, though, Hinz gets to relish in what his players accomplished Friday.

And I couldn’t be happier for my friend.

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