It was cool for start of the third week of the high school football season, the kind of afternoon that makes a hoodie functional as well as fashionable.
The East Valley coaching staff was working on a few new wrinkles for the Knights’ offense, but was keeping the mood light.
After one attempt at the play broke down, assistant coach John Phelan stopped the action and asked two of his players to introduce themselves to one another. “You obviously don’t know each other yet,” he joked.
“Yeah, we’re ready to take on Ohio State,” head coach Adam Fisher said a few minutes later.
Fisher and the Knights won’t be taking on the top-rated Buckeyes, but he is looking forward to Friday’s home opener, when Post Falls crosses the border to take on East Valley.
“This game will tell us a lot about where we are as a team,” he said. “This is a quality opponent and they have us outnumbered – I don’t know, at last 1½ to 1.”
That presents a challenge along a number of fronts, Fisher explains. For the most part, it means Post Falls will likely have a deeper bench and will be able to keep fresh legs on the field.
“They’re going to play two units, offense and defense,” Fisher said. “For our last game we suited up something like 42 kids. Post Falls is going to suit up between 60 and 70. That’s a big difference.”
There’s an adage about such situations: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.
East Valley’s home opener comes after wins at Deer Park (48-18) and Lakeland (56-22) that featured an offense filled with skill-position players with speed and talent.
“We have a good group of skill players and the interesting thing is that it’s only going to get deeper,” Fisher said. “We have a couple guys coming back from injuries who should be ready about the time we start playing league games.
“Our quarterback, Dante Clayton, is doing a nice job getting the ball where it’s supposed to go. In our first game, at Deer Park, he was something like 17 of 20 or something like that.”
East Valley has good size along the line of scrimmage as well.
“The problem is that we have a lot of those guys are having to play both ways,” Fisher said.
This far, the coach said, the team has stayed healthy and he’s managed to get every player into a game. That’s an important goal that Fisher has stressed every season.
“It’s about getting everyone game experience,” he said. “It’s about not having to rebuild all the time.”
Post Falls enters Friday’s game with a 1-2 record, falling to Sandpoint and University. Last week the Trojans held the Titans to just a pair of touchdowns a week after they put up 43 points and rolled up 575 total yards against Sandpoint – the team East Valley closes out the nonleague portion of its schedule against next week in a second-straight home game.
Against U-Hi Post Falls put six defenders along the line of scrimmage, played man-to-man coverage and blitzed frequently.
With just five schools in the Great Northern League, the league season consists of just four games and begins for East Valley Oct. 2, when the Knights visit Cheney.
Class 2A in Eastern Washington is the most challenging division. There are just 15 schools in the classification east of the Cascade Mountains. Ten of them are in Central Washington.
“It’s definitely easier to be on the other side of the state,” Fisher said. “This is the year where they look at the numbers and figure out where schools are going to be. We should have an idea of what we’re looking at by January. Our numbers are going to 2A numbers, but what happens with Cheney is anyone’s guess. Whether Deer Park or Colville comes back into the league or not, that remains to be seen.”
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.