WEST LINN, Ore – Coeur d’Alene nearly dropped its transmission all over the field Friday night before finding the right gear in a 28-point third quarter and cruising to a 49-35 victory over West Linn in the season opener for both teams.
The Vikings spent most of the first half behind by two touchdowns – and were lucky to be only that far back. They missed assignments, blew coverages, turned the ball over three times – and, significantly, lost control of the line of scrimmage.
They had only two good things happen in the first 16 minutes: Addison Johnson’s 94-yard kickoff return to open the second quarter, and the fact that they were only down 28-14.
“West Linn had a great first half,” Vikings coach Shawn Amos said. “That quarterback (Hayden Coppedge) has a great arm and he threw to the right places.
“We didn’t play well at all.”
Was he worried about losing the game?
“I was more angry than worried,” Amos said. “The kids just dug down and responded to what we told them at the half.”
They responded quickly. On the second play of the third quarter, quarterback Gunnar Amos – strep throat limited him to just one practice this week – threw a simple possession route over the middle to Johnson.
The same play had been open in the first half time after time. But this time Johnson caught the ball in stride, broke to the left sideline and went 65 yards for the touchdown.
Now the Lions were unraveling, and spent the rest of the quarter on their own half of the field. On their next series, the center snap went over Coppedge’s head for the first of three times in the quarter. The Vikings started bringing blitzes in from the edges and chased the quarterback all over the place.
Gunnar Amos, who accounted for all four Vikings touchdowns in the quarter, completed a tiny 42-yard drive with a screen to Johnson, whose 22-yard scoring run tied the game with 8:25 to go.
Coeur d’Alene was clearly enjoying itself now. The Lions fumbled the ball away on their own 24, and Amos ran the ball in himself.
Amos finished the third-quarter rampage when he found Ryan Walde all by himself in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard scoring pass with 2:54 left in the quarter.
West Linn was finished.
“We’ll know more when we see some film of this one,” Shawn Amos said. “But I think one thing we did well was when we opened things up and started running the ball right at them.”
“We were down in the dumps at the half,” the senior said. “But we started playing well in the second half.
“We started changing some things. There were some keys toward me, Gunnar got back under control, and the receiver blocking was really key.”
Just in time, too. The Vikings hit the road for another long trip, this to Bothell, Wash.