If this was one last dress rehearsal, Coeur d’Alene might end up taking a curtain call this season.
In the final nonleague game of the pandemic-shuffled season, Jack Prka threw three touchdown passes, ran for two more scores and the Vikings turned a close early game into a rout, beating visiting Post Falls 48-7 on Friday.
CdA junior Tanner Langley recovered a fumble on a kickoff which led to a score, then later blocked a punt and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown to help put it out of reach early in the third quarter.
Inland Empire League 5A play starts next week, with Coeur d’Alene (4-0) traveling to Lewiston (3-3) and Post Falls (3-2) at Lake City (1-5).
The Vikings made a big statement that again, the rest of the league will have to go through them to reach the state playoffs.
Prka said after four nonleague games, he’s ready for the bright lights of league play.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be fun,” he said. “Gotta step up to play Lewiston, it’ll be fun.”
“This is just a preview of things to come,” Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos said of the nonleague schedule against IEL opponents. “You know, now the games count. You know, whatever your record in the preseason doesn’t matter. Now we’re going to Lewiston and now we’re playing for a state playoffs.”
With two byes in the first five weeks of the season, and an admittedly up-and-down performance last week against Lake City – which nonetheless resulted in a 40-13 win – Amos has been waiting for his team to put together a complete performance.
“That was actually, we finally played four good quarters,” he said. “I thought, I was really happy with this performance, compared to our previous one. So I think we have a chance to be pretty good if we keep improving. It was a good game against a good team.”
“I think it comes back to refocusing and doing our job keeping it simple,” Prka said. “I think, (last week against) Lake City, me especially, I think I just tried to do too much.
“But this game I just got the ball to my playmakers and, yeah, they did their job.”
After a Post Falls three-and-out to start, Coeur d’Alene used an 11-play drive, ending with Prka’s 1-yard dive, for the first score of the game.
Post Falls answered with its most impressive drive. Jaxon Anderson hit his favorite target, Tommy Hauser, with a 20-yard slant to tie it up.
“I thought that first quarter was a pretty good football first quarter, you know,” Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said. “It’s 7-7, and we did some good things offensively, we did some good things defensively. And then that second quarter, we let it get away.”
The Vikings scored on the last play of the first quarter, when Prka connected with junior Isaiah Griffin, who used a nifty spin move around the 5 to complete a 35-yard catch and run for a 14-7 lead.
Post Falls recovered a fumble at midfield, but on the next play Anderson was picked off by Sam Entzi. The Vikings made the Trojans pay, with Prka scoring on a 2-yard plunge and 21-7 lead. On the ensuing kick, the ball came loose and Langley gathered it at the Post Falls 25. Two plays later, Prka hit Alex Karns down the sidelines for a 13-yard score.
“It was huge, was great to see a kid like that make that play. Great program kid,” Amos said of Langley. “And that’s why I thought offense, defense, special teams – you know, we played the most complete game we’ve played this year now in all phases.”
On Post Falls’ first possession of the second half, Langley broke through the line, blocked Cole Rutherford’s punt at the 17 and scooped it for the score that put it out of reach.
“There were a couple big mistakes,” Bennett said. “You know, that was a mistake. We fumbled on kickoff return, that was a mistake. We threw an interception, you know, so you got to take care of the football when you’re facing a good team like Coeur d’Alene. They do an excellent job in all three phases.”
Trent Elstad had a 2-yard TD run later in the third quarter. He thought getting the score to a running clock in the fourth made a statement.
“Oh yeah, I think so,” Elstad said. “I think so, for sure.”
Moscow 28, Lewiston 20: Chad Redinger had 288 passing yards, 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns and the host Bears (2-0) beat the Bengals (3-3) in a nonleague game at the Kibbie Dome.
Lake City 21, Sandpoint 13: Chris Irvin connected with Porter Howard on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:35 to go and the Timberwolves (2-4) topped the visiting Bulldogs (1-4) in a nonleague game.
Lakeland 20, Timberlake 13: Devon Suko passed for 58 yards with a touchdown and the visiting Hawks (3-2) beat the Tigers (1-3) in a nonleague game in Spirit Lake. Lakeland scored twice in the fourth quarter.
Mullan-St. Regis 50, Lakeside 34: Caleb Ball rushed for 189 yards with two rushing TDs and added a TD catch as the Tigers (4-1) beat the Knights (4-2) in a nonleague game in Mullan.
Deary 56, Wallace 12: The Mustangs (3-3) beat the host Miners (1-4) in a non-league game.
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