Coeur d’Alene would be hard-pressed to find a nonleague opponent it was more familiar with than Central Valley.
The Vikings, ranked No. 5 among Idaho Class 5A schools, and Bears, ranked No. 6 by the Associated Press among Class 4A, go to the same camps and schedule each other whenever possible.
“We come here and do the Border League camp here on this field,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said standing in the middle of CV’s home field.
All of which goes a long way toward explaining the Vikings’ comfort level as they dispatched CV 35-13 on Friday night.
The game started on time after a thunder and lightning storm passed over the field just more than an hour before kickoff. A rain squall left the field damp, but footing was never affected.
In just his sixth start at quarterback, Jack Prka threw three touchdown passes, including two in the second half to Gunner Guilio, and Colby Nosworthy picked off a Matt Gabbert pass late and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.
The junior quarterback rebounded nicely from some early adversity, fumbling twice – once at the Vikings’ 2 to set up CV’s lone first-half score, the second at the CV 1 to thwart an otherwise textbook 79-yard drive.
“Jack is settling in in his first year as the starter,” Amos said. “He’s showing some real maturity.”
Prka is 4-2 as a starter. CV dropped to 4-1.
CV’s Gabbert struggled throwing the ball all night. He did not complete a pass in the first quarter and most of his throws were off target.
Prka finished 33 of 42 for 351 yards. Gabbert was 10 of 31 for 91 yards. Both quarterbacks threw an interception.
Prka’s passing much of the time is an extension of the running game, tossing to an array of backs circling out of the backfield to challenge opposing defensive backs.
Brennen Crawford had eight catches for 154 yards and Nosworthy had eight for 91.
“We have some real athletes,” Amos said. “We have a lot of ways we can go.”
Gabbert rallied the Bears in the fourth quarter, hitting Cameron Sheley with an 8-yard touchdown pass, but on CV’s next possession, he fired deep and was picked off by Nosworthy, who raced untouched for the touchdown.
Amos said CdA’s relationships with the Greater Spokane League are integral to his program.
“We like to play those top-tier teams, Mead, Gonzaga Prep and Central Valley,” he said. “We try to stack the first part of our season with as many good teams as we can in order to prepare ourselves.”
Playing a nonleague game at CV in Week 6 was a bonus.
“There was a late opening in the schedule last year because of the way things worked out,” Amos said.