With most leagues in North Idaho comprised of only three or four teams, playoff seeds are at a premium. Every league game becomes magnified and even the first league contest can mean the difference between the playoffs or not.
The nonleague slate has been wrapped up and teams in the Inland Empire League and beyond start playing for keeps this week.
Game of the Week
Post Falls (3-2) at Lake City (2-4): With No. 1-ranked Coeur d’Alene all but assured of a state playoff berth, this game turns into something of an elimination game.
The Post Falls Trojans got off to a good start last week against the Vikings, but a couple of second-quarter turnovers gave CdA a short field. Quarterback Jack Prka took full advantage en route to a 48-7 win.
After the Vikings got up big, Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett gave starting quarterback Jaxon Anderson the second half off last week to get some others playing time against some stiff competition.
“I thought that first quarter was a pretty good football,” Bennett said. “First quarter, you know, it’s 7-7 and we did some good things offensively, we did some good things defensively. That second quarter, we let it get away. And then, I just didn’t think we came out in that second half and played very well, you know. But give Coeur d’Alene credit, they’re an excellent football team.”
Anderson connected with Tommy Hauser on a 20-yard first-quarter touchdown, Hauser’s fifth score of the season.
Lake City needed a late touchdown pass from Chris Irvin to Porter Howard last week to hold off Sandpoint, which was looking for its second win of the season over the Timberwolves. Three of Lake City’s four losses have come against each of its three IEL 5A rivals.
Coeur d’Alene (4-0) at Lewiston (3-3): The Vikings benefited from a couple of special teams turnovers last week, including a punt block for a touchdown and a fumble recovery of a kickoff from Tanner Langley. Prka threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to pull away from Post Falls.
“You know, now the games count,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said on Friday. “Whatever your record in the preseason doesn’t matter. Now we’re going to Lewiston and now we’re playing for a state playoffs.”
The Bengals got off to a good start this season, downing Kuna on the road and Lake City. But they have lost three of their past four games, including last week’s 28-20 decision to Moscow.
Lakeland (3-2) vs. Moscow (2-0) at Kibbie Dome: With their late start, the Moscow Bears only had two warmup games before league play. But after their performance last week against Lewiston, when all-league quarterback Chad Redinger had 288 passing yards, 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns, they have to look like the 4A favorites.
Lakeland also owns a win over Lewiston, so this game turns into the de facto 4A title game, since only one seed from District I-II goes to state.
Timberlake (1-3) at Kellogg (1-2); Priest River (0-3) at Bonners Ferry (2-2); St. Maries (1-1) at Grangeville (2-1); Mullan (5-1) at Clark Fork (2-1); Wallace (1-4) at Kootenai (0-2).
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