Terry Cloer knew what his Mt. Spokane football team was in for as it climbed on the bus and headed across the border to take on Post Falls on Friday night: a big offensive and defensive line and well-designed schemes.
Even more daunting, the Trojans had won their previous two games by a combined 124-0.
Mt. Spokane (5-0) worked out the challenges, shutting out Post Falls in the second half to earn a 29-13 nonleague victory.
“We had to change some things and make some adjustments so that we could make some stops,” the Wildcats coach said. “They were in a heavy look the whole game, and we couldn’t stop them straight up. And they have two coordinators who coached at the collegiate level, so you know they’re going to have well-designed game plans.
“But we looked at their game with Sunnyside. We played Sunnyside in the summer, and we knew that we could probably do some things against (Post Falls).”
The second-half shutout was the impressive part, especially after Post Falls (4-2) powered its way to a 13-7 halftime lead.
In the first half, Post Falls fed the Wildcats’ defense a steady diet of 5-foot-9 Tevin Burns running behind an offensive line that managed an impressive push off the snap, allowing the back to gain steady yardage play after play , but the Mt. Spokane defense stopped the Trojans on fourth down at its 22.
On the Trojans’ next series, Burns carried 10 straight times to set up third-and-goal at the Mt. Spokane 4. Caden Smith fired 4 yards to Alexander Shields for the score just before the end of the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead.
The next Post Falls drive was similar with Burns darting in from the 7 for the score with less than 5 minutes left in the half to take a 13-0 lead.
The Wildcats began to find their footing on their final drive.
TJ Haberman and Bode Gardner finally got untracked for a 78-yard drive aided by a Post Falls personal foul, setting up a 5-yard run by Ben Joireman with just over a minute left – the first touchdown the Trojans had allowed in three weeks.
“TJ has been starting a little hot lately, and it took him a while to kind of settle in,” Cloer said. “We have not played a lot on grass this year, so that took a little adjusting to as well.”
The Wildcats got the ball to start the second half and put together a 70-yard drive to take the lead. Haberman found Ryen Borchers on a middle screen that gained 20 yards, then threw deep to an open area that allowed Gardner to come back to the ball and find some room to run for a 44-yard gain. Haberman went back to Gardner on an inside slant for an 11-yard touchdown and the lead.
Borchers got the ball on a reverse at the Post Falls 4 to score, pushing the lead to 20-13. The Wildcats added a safety with just less than 7 minutes left to make it 22-13.
Mt. Spokane added a late touchdown, and Gardner ended a long, last-minute drive with an interception.
“When I first looked at the schedule, I hated that our nonleague week was Week 5,” Cloer said. “But I think this game came at just the right time. We had to dig deep and find a way to get it done, and I think that will really pay off for us as we go forward to play Central Valley and we still have Gonzaga Prep.”