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Coeur d’Alene rallies past Mercer Island

You get the sense that Shawn Amos had to dig around for seldom-used vocabulary on Saturday afternoon.

Mediocre, embarrassing, undisciplined – these aren’t words often used to describe the performance of Amos’ two-time defending State 5A champion Coeur d’Alene football team.

Though it may not have been the most polished performance, the Vikings dug in late in the game and scored three times in the fourth quarter on Saturday to pick up a 39-21 nonleague win over visiting Mercer Island and their 24th straight win overall.

“I think our effort, honestly, was mediocre and I thought we played undisciplined,” Amos said. “I didn’t think we played a very good football game. … (All the penalties we took) were embarrassing.”

But, as Amos pointed out, it was still a win – and it was a win over the eighth-ranked 3A team in Washington.

“Mercer Island played a great football game and they’re a good football program, but I wasn’t very satisfied with how we played,” Amos said.

Amos’ dissatisfaction stemmed from uncharacteristic mistakes from his talented Coeur d’Alene (3-0) team, which is ranked No. 1 in Idaho and is projected to win a third consecutive state title.

There was a dropped touchdown pass, an interception, missed field goals, several penalties and one specific drive in the first half in which the Vikings had 10 chances to score from inside the Islanders’ 5-yard line – thanks to penalties that finally worked in Coeur d’Alene’s favor – but couldn’t. They settled for a 20-yard field goal from kicker Parker Wilson.

“Not what we would like to call Viking football, but, you know, you take a win,” Amos said. “We amped up our schedule (this year) so there’s no easy game. Every week you have to show up.”

There were a handful of Vikings that showed up before it was too late against the Islanders (1-1) – including quarterback Gunnar Amos and junior receiver Camden Doering.

Amos completed 28 of 45 passes for 382 yards and threw four TD passes, including all three touchdowns in the decisive final quarter.

Two of those TD passes went to Doering, who had eight catches for 130 yards to lead Vikings receivers. His 33-yard TD reception in the fourth allowed Coeur d’Alene to regain the lead, and the Vikings never looked back.

“Our guys we expected to step up stepped up,” Amos said. “Those guys made big plays and that’s what we’re counting on. (But) we need more than a few guys – we need to be better as a group. Much better as a group.”

They’ll need to do it quickly, too, because next week’s challenger is Washington’s top-ranked 4A team – Skyline (Sammamish), which is led by USC-bound quarterback Max Browne.

“There’s a good reason they’ve won four of five state titles,” Amos said. “We’ve got a lot of things to get better at and that’s kind of where we’ve been – we’re good one week and not so good the next and inconsistency is not acceptable.

“But we’ll take the win and move on.”