Jack Prka might have been named newcomer of the year in the Inland Empire League last season, but the senior quarterback looked very much at home Friday night as he led Idaho 5A No. 1-ranked Coeur d’Alene in its season opener over visiting 4A Sandpoint 55-0 in a nonleague game.
Prka threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score – all in the first half as the Vikings (1-0) rolled up a 41-0 lead at intermission.
“I felt great,” Prka said. “I was just kind of itching to play, you know. It’s been a long offseason for sure and I was really excited to get going.”
Veteran coach Shawn Amos usually loads his early season with Greater Spokane League opponents or out-of-state competition – the opener was supposed to be against a team from Anchorage, Alaska.
So the tune-up against smaller Sandpoint (0-2) gave him some things to think about.
“I think it was a good start,” he said. “I think we’ll watch film and we still have some growth to do if we want to get to where we want to get to.
“But we got to play a ton of kids and they played hard – not always the smartest. You know, we made some mistakes which we can’t have down the road, so I’m sure once we see film, we’ll have a lot of stuff to work on.”
But the bottom line was being back on the field at all.
“It was crazy,” Amos said through his face covering. “The coaches, we were talking and were just giddy all day today, ‘We get to play football, yeah boy, football.’ It was nice to get out there.”
All-IEL running back Gunner Giulio caught two touchdown passes, Trent Elstad added two TD runs and Mason Cummings recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter.
All-state lineman Jackson Kohal was happy to line up against players wearing a different-colored jersey for the first time this season.
“It’s a good feeling because we put in a lot of work this offseason, and it was kind of crushing with all the COVID situation,” Kohal said. “We finally get on the field, it just relieved all my anxiety. Just hitting a kid in the face and whatever, it’s indescribable.”
Kohal felt the change of intensity going from practice to playing against a team that was trying to stop him.
“There’s a difference between being in practice shape and football shape,” he added. “And today was just a good day to get into football shape and feel the mood of ‘It’s game week,’ and just finding out what our identity is.”
Prka and the Vikings aren’t focused on their preseason No. 1 ranking in the state.
“A lot of high expectations, but you know we just kind of prepare every week, like we’re the underdogs,” he said. “That’s our mentality, and it always will be. Pretty much that’s how the best do it and they’ll always have that hunger.”
In other games:
Rigby 44, Post Falls 42: Noah Range scored twice in the fourth quarter to draw Post Falls within two, but visiting defending 5A State champion Rigby (2-0) held off the Trojans (1-1) in a nonleague game.
Jaxon Anderson tossed three TD passes for Post Falls.
Lewiston 58 Lake City 50: Cruz Hepburn scored on 15-yard touchdown on fourth-and-1 with 40 seconds left and the visiting Bengals (2-0) outlasted the Timberwolves (1-1) in a nonleague matchup.
Lewiston QB Kash Lang ran for five touchdowns, including back-to-back 58-yard gallops in the first half. Hepburn finished with three TD runs.
Lake City’s Chris Irvin passed for 489 yards and four touchdowns.
Lakeland 36, Timberlake 7: Luke Suko scored on two short carries and threw a TD pass, John Cornish added 61 yards on the ground and the Hawks (1-1) beat the visiting Tigers (0-2) in a nonleague game in Rathdrum.
Zach Yetter hauled in a 45-yard TD pass from Ashtol Peightal for Timberlake.
Bonners Ferry 45, Priest River 0: The Badgers (1-1) beat the visiting Spartans (0-2) in a nonleague game.
Mullan 64, Wallace 22: The visiting Tigers (3-0) defeated the Miners (0-2) in a nonleague game.
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