Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett hopes to see his Trojans get over the hump this season.
A regular in the state playoffs the past few seasons, he’ll lead his squad into a first-round game against perennial power Mountain View at home on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Hosting a playoff game is a special thing,” Bennett said. “I think this is maybe our third or fourth year, being able to host a playoff game. It doesn’t happen all the time and so certainly that’s a lot better than traveling down to Boise.
“At the high school level, you just never know how you’re team is going to develop and how the pieces are going to come together,” he said. “But as a staff, we’d like to take that next step and go a little bit further in the playoffs than we have in the past.”
The Trojans (5-3) lost to Timberline 19-7 in a first-round game at home last season. Two years ago, Post Falls played at Mountain View in a quarterfinal and took it on the chin, losing 57-0.
“That was a very good Mountain View team, and they got after us pretty good,” Bennett said.
Mountain View (3-3) finished fourth this season in the Southern Idaho Conference West and earned the sixth seed from the West (Boise-area) region. The Mavericks boast the state’s No. 6 scoring offense at 34.8 points.
“Mountain View is a traditional power,” Bennett said. “They run a great program down there. It’ll be a challenge for us.”
The winner faces West No. 2 Capital (4-1), the SIC East champ, next week.
Post Falls junior quarterback Jaxon Anderson has leaned on some veteran leadership, including “secret weapon” Tommy Hauser.
“He had another great year for us,” Bennett said of Hauser. “Last year he had some unbelievable numbers for us – he led the state in several categories. We’re having a little tougher time getting him the ball this year – teams are doing some different things against him.”
Hauser has 52 catches for 646 yards with six touchdowns this season.
On the other side of the ball, senior linebackers Josiah Shields and Kaden Cripps front an otherwise young secondary.
“Josiah Shield and Kaden Cripps, both of them play a little offense, are excellent linebackers, team captains – do everything we ask them to do,” Bennett said.
Bennett is just happy to be talking about football in late October, considering the troubles dealing with COVID-19 protocol all season.
“We know here in Idaho we feel real fortunate to be able to play football,” Bennett said. “As you hear these different things in the NFL and college and how many people have come down with COVID.”
All games are Friday at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Hillcrest (4-5) at Sandpoint (3-4): The Bulldogs beat Lakeland 6-0 in a snowstorm last Friday to earn the District 1-2 title. Quarterback Parker Pettit has developed a connection with Cody Newhart, who had two long touchdown win over Moscow two weeks ago. The winner faces the Moscow/Jerome winner in the quarterfinals.
Lakeland (3-4) at Century (5-3): The Hawks didn’t have a league win, but beat 5A Lewiston and Intermountain League champ Timberlake twice and qualified for state with an at-large bid. QB Devin Suko and Division I-caliber tight end Ammon Munyer are leaders for Lakeland. The winner faces the Bishop Kelly/Pocatello winner in the quarterfinals.
Moscow (3-1) at Jerome (7-2): The Bears got off to a late start this season after the school board originally decided against interscholastic athletics due to the pandemic. All-league quarterback Chad Redinger and D-I prospect Johan Elliss lead a team that may peak during the playoffs. Jerome easily won the Great Basin 7 Conference.
Kellogg (3-3) at Kimberly (7-1): Saturday at noon. The Wildcats were the second seed from the North region. Kimberly, second in the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference, finished ranked No. 3 in 3A, with one first-place vote.
St. Maries (2-1, 1-0) at Grangeville (3-2, 1-0): While not a technically a playoff game, this Central Idaho League game determines the league champion and is an elimination game. The winner moves on to a state quarterfinal matchup next week and the loser is eliminated.
Lakeside (4-2) at Oakley (7-1): Saturday at noon. Lakeside beat Wallace last week 36-0 to take the inaugural Scenic Idaho Conference title. Oakley, second place in the Snake River Conference, is ranked No. 3 in the state media poll.
Mullan/St. Regis (6-1) at Clark Fork (2-2): Saturday at 1 p.m. As with the 2A game, the North Star League title game determines the district game and lone berth to state. The winner advances to a state quarterfinal. Mullan/St. Regis is ranked No. 4 in the state media poll.
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