SANDPOINT – Inland Empire League champion Sandpoint – three weeks removed from dispatching rival Moscow in the regular season – didn’t deviate from its identity in a 4A state quarterfinal rematch Friday night.
It didn’t need home-run plays, either.
The Bulldogs’ physical defense and running game gave Moscow problems, and sophomore quarterback Parker Pettit was efficient, totaling two touchdown passes and a TD run in a 31-13 win at Barlow Stadium.
Sandpoint (6-4) earned its first trip to the state semifinals since 2015, where the Bulldogs will travel to top-ranked Skyline (10-1) next week.
After beating the Bears 31-21 on Oct . 17 in league play, Sandpoint proceeded to again contain a Moscow (4-2) offense that put up 45 points in a first-round win over Jerome, the program’s first postseason win in more than 20 years.
“We were steady Eddie,” Sandpoint coach Ryan Knowles said. “We went out and stuck with what we do all year.”
Sandpoint, which held Moscow to 18 yards in the first half, kept the Bears offense off the field with long, methodical drives.
Pettit scored on a one-yard touchdown run on Sandpoint’s first drive before connecting with receiver Peyton Ennis on the game’s second drive, giving the Bulldogs a 14-0 halftime cushion.
Sandpoint tacked on a field goal in the third quarter, but an interception by Moscow star linebacker Jonah Elliss – orally committed to the University of Utah – helped give the Bears life.
Moscow took advantage of the forced turnover, scoring on an eight-yard run by Lance Hanson to make it a 17-7 game late in the quarter.
Sandpoint answered on the ensuing drive when Max Thielbahr hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass by Pettit, extending the lead in the fourth quarter.
Junior running back Gerrit Cox soon put the game out of reach with a 21-yard touchdown run, giving the Bulldogs a 31-7 lead.
“After a tough (30-27 quarterfinal win over Hillcrest) game last week, we came in with a good plan this week,” Cox said. “We did our jobs tonight.”
Now the Bulldogs must prepare for a No. 1 Skyline team that handed Nampa a 42-21 loss on Friday.
“I think we’re ready,” Cox said. “We’ve been on a roll.”
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