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University holds off Post Falls in defensive battle

A big play by University to start the game and a big play by Post Falls to open the second half accounted for two of the game’s three touchdowns Friday.

In between, the teams piled up big defensive play after big defensive play before U-Hi used a touchdown in the fourth quarter to hold off the Trojans 14-7 in a nonleague game at Roos Field in Cheney.

A week after putting up 43 points and 575 yards in a win at Sandpoint, U-Hi unexpectedly ran into roadblocks when the Trojans assigned six defenders near the line of scrimmage.

“Post Falls did something we weren’t prepared for,” Titans quarterback Logan O’Neil said. “They manned up and just blitzed a lot. They brought the pressure and it definitely messed with our (offensive line).”

U-Hi (2-0) scored on the game’s second play when O’Neil hit a wide-open Tanner Chase on a 54-yard connection.

But O’Neil threw two interceptions in the first half, both of which were picked by Preston Bourgard.

“Obviously, throwing two picks early, I had to bounce back from that in the second half,” said O’Neil, who completed 16 of 27 for 232 yards. “I definitely feel like we did bounce back in the second half. We picked up the intensity up front. We started blocking better.”

U-Hi could have had at least two more scores. Post Falls stuffed the Titans on fourth-and-goal inside the 1-yard line, and a 26-yard field-goal attempt was pulled left.

It appeared U-Hi scored on third-and-goal but an inadvertent whistle blew the play dead even though Treivon Tuggles broke the plane of the goal line on second effort.

“We probably should have been up 17-0 at the half without even being too crazy,” U-Hi coach Rob Bartlett said. “We had the inadvertent whistle (at the goal line) and we scored on that, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to be able to get in from the 3-inch line and they stuffed us.”

Post Falls (1-2) drew even on the third play of the second half when quarterback Nathan Gregory found Zach Hillman wide open as the Titans botched their pass coverage. The TD play went for 59 yards.

U-Hi used a 17-play, 83-yard drive to take the lead when Tyler Rickel scored from 1 yard out with 8:10 to go.

“Defensively, we played fantastic,” Post Falls offensive coordinator Sean Dorris said. “They flew around. We put them in a lot of bad situations, especially in the first half.”

Dorris was filling in for head coach Jeff Hinz, who is battling cancer. Hinz was ordered by his doctor to stay at home.

“We didn’t move the ball at all,” Dorris said. “Give U-Hi credit. They played really, really well. They’re very physical up front and we’re behind the chains pretty much the whole first half.”

U-Hi is at home next week for a Greater Spokane League 4A opener against Ferris while Post Falls travels to East Valley.

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