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Locally: Idaho football picks up three impact transfers including South Dakota State quarterback J’Bore Gibbs

UPDATED: Mon., June 20, 2022

Jason Eck speaks after being introduced as the new University of Idaho head football coach during a news conference last December at the ICCU Arena in Moscow.  (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review)
Jason Eck speaks after being introduced as the new University of Idaho head football coach during a news conference last December at the ICCU Arena in Moscow. (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and news services

Two players with power-five experience and a high-level FCS quarterback will transfer to the University of Idaho for the 2022 season, Vandals head football coach Jason Eck announced.

Linebacker Paul Moala from Notre Dame, edge rusher Juliano Falaniko from Southern California and quarterback J’Bore Gibbs from South Dakota State have agreed to join the Vandals, Eck said.

Moala, who will have two years of eligibility, played in 23 games in four seasons at Notre Dame. He had 22 total tackles, including one for loss. During the 2019-20 season, he intercepted a pitch against Navy and returned it for a touchdown.

Moala was a high school all-state player from South Bend, Indiana. He was the 2017 InstyStar Mr. Football Defensive Back in 2017 and Northern Indiana Conference Defensive MVP.

Falaniko, from American Samoa who will have one year of eligibility, played in 37 games for USC and had 22 career tackles, including 1.5 for loss, half a sack and one forced fumble. He was a two-time All-American Samoa first-team player and MVP of the All-Poly Camp.

Gibbs, who has two years of eligibility, rejoins Eck, who was his offensive coordinator at South Dakota State. Gibbs played in 10 games for the Jackrabbits, six in 2019 and four in the spring of 2021, before suffering two season-ending injuries. He can potentially appeal for a third year due to an injury redshirt.

As a freshman, he led South Dakota State in a close game against Minnesota, rushing for one touchdown and passing for another, in a 28-21 loss. In six games that season, he passed for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs while rushing for four more before suffering the season-ending injury against North Dakota State.

Eck said he and Vandals offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Luke Schleusner “ have a lot of familiarity with him. He was our starting quarterback to start the year in 2019… (and) played very well in the narrow loss to Minnesota in a real tough environment for someone’s first college start.”

Of the injuries after impressive performances, Eck said Gibbs “unfortunately tore his ACL against North Dakota State. He tore his other ACL the next year and COVID didn’t help his rehab. He’s a guy who’s battled adversity in his football career and just growing up in inner-city Chicago so he knows how to handle a tough situation.

“He is really excited to have a fresh start and can come in and compete with (returning sophmores) Gevani (McCoy) and C.J. (Jordan) for the starting quarterback position.”

College scene

Mitch Jacobson made an All-America recovery to lead the showing by the Washington State men at the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon.

After suffering from a no-height in his second-career outdoor championship in 2021, the grad student bounced back to clear a personal-best 7 feet, 3 inches in the men’s high jump, finish fifth and receive first-team U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association All-America honors.

Grad student Colton Johnsen earned a second straight second-team All-America award for his 11th-place finish in the steeplechase, and senior pole vaulter Jacob Englar was honorable mention for a 17th-place finish in the pole vault.

Freshman Valentina Barrios Bornacelli earned the Cougars women a first-team All-America award in the javelin (8th, 177-3), and they had two honorable mention All-Americans, junior high jumper Aislinn Overby (19th, 5-9¾) and redshirt freshman Micaela De Mello (17th, 100 hurdles).

Idaho sophomore Lorenz Herrmann was second team for a 10th-place finish in the men’s 800; Gonzaga junior James Mwaura earned a second straight second-team award for placing 15th in the men’s 10,000; and Pennsylvania senior Mayyi Mahama from Pullman earned her second career honorable mention honor for placing 23rd in the women’s hammer.

• Eastern Washington has named defensive end Mitchell Johnson, wide receiver Freddie Roberson, defensive back Anthany Smith and quarterback Gunner Talkington co-captains for the 2022 football season. All will be serving in the role for the first time. Johnson, Smith and Talkington are redshirt seniors, Roberson is a redshirt junior.

Golf

Area golfers were the big winners at the 2022 Pelzer Golf Oregon Open Invitational last week at Sunriver, Oregon’s Sunriver Resort Crosswater Golf Course.

PGA professional Jeff Gove from The Idaho Club in Sandpoint won a one-hole playoff over pro Shane Prante (The Home Course, Dupont, Washington) to win the tournament after the two golfers finished 54 holes tied at 9-under-par 207.

Andrew Von Lossow from Manito Golf & Country Club was low amateur at 7 under and tied for third overall.

Reid Hatley (Hayden Lake Country Club) was the No. 2 amateur and tied for ninth overall at 4 under. North Idaho College coach Russell Grove was the second-leading area pro at 1 over in a four-way tie for 17th.

Hockey

Spokane Chiefs coach Ryan Smith is one of 12 assistants selected to work with three head coaches to guide Canada’s national U17 program for the 2022-23 season.

Smith, also an assistant with Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in 2012 and 2013, will be joined by Chiefs prospects Berkly Catton, a forward, and defenseman Will McIsaac at a July 10-16 U17 development camp in Calgary, Alberta.

• Defenseman Saige Weinstein, the Chiefs’ rookie of the year during the 2021-22 Western Hockey League season, is one of 88 players invited to Hockey Canada’s National Men’s Summer U18 Team selection camp July 23-27 in Calgary.

The 6-footer from Edmonton, one of 10 first-year skaters on the 2021-22 Chiefs, had one goal and 13 assists. He’ll be vying for a spot on Canada’s team for the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup July 31-Aug. 6 in Red Deer, Alberta.

Luke Toporowski, a left winger who spent most of the past five Western Hockey League seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed a two-year American Hockey League contract with Providence, Rhode Island, through the 2023-24 season, the Bruins announced.

The native of Bettendorf, Iowa, played in 223 games with the Chiefs before being traded to the Kamloops Blazers in January for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. In total, he had 96 goals and 103 assists in the WHL, 165 of his 199 total points for Spokane (76G-89A).

• The Chiefs announced they’ll play the other four teams in the WHL’s U.S. Division during two preseason tournaments. They’ll face Everett on Sept. 9 and Seattle on Sept. 10 in Everett, and Portland on Sept. 16 and host Tri-City on Sept. 18 in Kennewick.

• The Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 2-0 on June 13 to wrap up the best-of-7 WHL championship in six games and advance to the 2022 Memorial Cup starting this week in Saint John, New Brunswick.

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