When a football team has horses up front, it doesn’t matter much who is carrying or throwing the ball behind them.
The Coeur d’Alene Vikings made that evident Friday as they exposed the Lake City Timberwolves where they were most vulnerable – up the middle.
Making matters worse for Lake City, the Vikings’ defense corralled the Timberwolves’ two most dangerous weapons – the Louie-McGee brothers – as CdA took a big step toward securing the 5A Inland Empire League championship with a telling 44-13 win before an estimated crowd of 3,000 at LC.
CdA (5-3, 2-0), which won back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011 and played for the title last year, can capture the league’s lone state playoff berth Thursday when it faces visiting Post Falls.
LC (5-3, 1-1) watched its string of 16 straight playoff appearances come to an end.
It’s not so much the yardage CdA piled up that was impressive. It was the Viks kept the T-Wolves off the field as LC did little to slow them down.
CdA rushed for 209 yards with 163 coming in its runner-by-committee approach behind senior Ty Holgate and juniors Drew Berger and Gibson Green.
The Viks took control early, opening a 21-0 lead. LC finally scored midway in the second quarter, but CdA added another touchdown and a field goal for a 31-7 lead by halftime.
And the margin could have been worse. CdA recovered a fumble at LC’s 20-yard line with 1:15 to go before intermission but the clock ran out with the Viks at the 6.
CdA lost starting quarterback Gunnar Amos to what his dad, head coach Shawn Amos, called a concussion. The injury occurred with 1:36 remaining in the first half when Amos was rolling to the sideline. He threw an incomplete pass just as a defender took him out with a clean tackle attempt. It upended Amos, whose back of the head hit the ground as he landed on his back.
He spent the second half watching on the sidelines.
Shawn Amos said with a short week he will start sophomore Austin Lee against Post Falls. Lee hit 4 of 4 passes for 100 yards and a TD in the second half.
LC had a chance to make things competitive in the second half on its first series. The T-Wolves moved to CdA’s 9 but turned the ball over on downs.
“Our kids came ready to play,” Amos said. “And the way they responded when you lose your best guy …. These guys battled for him. You play three quarterbacks and you beat a team like Lake City, that means a lot of other guys stepped up. That’s an impressive effort by our kids, the way they responded to adversity. It was a championship effort.”
LC coach Van Troxel was brief in his postgame assessment.
“We got outplayed, we got outcoached (and) I didn’t do my job. And that’s all I’ve got to say.”