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Special forces: Langley's two big special teams plays help Coeur d'Alene pummel Post Falls

by MARK NELKE
Sports Editor | October 3, 2020 1:30 AM

COEUR d'ALENE — As if an explosive offense and a playmaking defense aren't enough for the Coeur d'Alene High football team.

Lately, the Vikings' special teams are coming up with big plays as well.

Junior Tanner Langley recovered a fumbled kickoff that led to a touchdown, then recovered his own blocked punt and took it in from 17 yards out as Coeur d'Alene routed the Post Falls Trojans 48-7 in a nonleague game between 5A Inland Empire League rivals on Friday night at Viking Field.

"We were really together tonight, and fundamentally sound, and we had a great game, so it was awesome," Langley said.

Midway through the second quarter, Sam Entzi's interception led to a 2-yard TD run by Jack Prka that increased Coeur d'Alene's lead to 21-7.

After touchbacks on his first three kickoffs, Eli Jolly's fourth kickoff was taken at the Post Falls 5, but was fumbled by the Trojans on the return, and Langley recovered at the Post Falls 25.

"We always have to fly down the field, and be ready to make plays," Langley said. "We can't expect him to kick it in the end zone every time."

Two plays later, Prka connected with Alex Karns on a 13-yard scoring toss and the Vikings led 28-7 at the half. Karns finished with six catches for 44 yards. Ethan Garitone led Cd'A with seven catches for 68 yards.

Early in the third quarter, Langley knifed in from the punter's right side, blocked the punt, scooped it up and scored for a 34-7 lead.

"I just rushed off the edge. No one blocked me, and I just went for it and made the play." Langley said. "I wanted to complete it, so I kept going and finished the play."

"It's great to see a kid like that make that play," Coeur d'Alene coach Shawn Amos said of Langley. "He's a great program kid. Offense, defense, special teams, we played the most complete game we've played this year."

Coeur d'Alene (4-0) piled up 410 yards of offense, compared to 150 for Post Falls (3-2).

Prka was 21 of 27 for 221 yards in the first half, and finished with 281 passing yards and three scores. Isaiah Griffin made some nice moves in space to finish off a 35-yard catch-and-run late in the first quarter to put the Vikings up 14-7. And Prka's forward pitch to Gunner Giulio resulted in a 47-yard score late in the third to conclude the scoring.

"We finally played four good quarters," Amos said. "We have a chance to be really good if we keep improving. It was a good game against a good team."

After Prka ran it in from the 1 to open the scoring, Post Falls responded with an 80-yard, 12-play drive, capped by a 19-yard pass from Jaxon Anderson to Tommy Hauser on a slant from the right on fourth down and 3.

But it was all Coeur d'Alene after that, and with the Vikings' lead at 40 points or more after three, the fourth quarter was played with running clock.

"The first quarter we came out and played really well," Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said. "We did some nice things offensively, our defense played well. That first quarter was kinda who we are. Then that second quarter got out of control, with the turnovers ... the blocked punt ... the fumbled kickoff return. Those turnovers really hurt us against a great team like Coeur d'Alene."

Post Falls only returned one other kickoff all night.

"Their return guys are really good," Amos said. "We didn't want 23 (Cole Rutherford) and 13 (Hauser) to catch the ball. Eli Jolly has really elevated his game, and he's a weapon for us — on punt, too. Not many high school kids you can say, 'punt it to the left numbers' and he punts it to the left numbers. He's a big-time kicker for us."

5A IEL play begins next Friday, with Coeur d'Alene at Lewiston and Post Falls at Lake City. Coeur d'Alene travels to Post Falls on Oct. 23 in the league finale.

Post Falls 7 0 0 0 — 7

Coeur d’Alene 14 14 20 0 — 48

First quarter

Cd’A — Jack Prka 1 run (Eli Jolly kick), 7:14

PF — Tommy Hauser 19 pass from Jaxon Anderson (Josiah Shields kick), 2:55

Cd’A — Isaiah Griffin 35 pass from Prka (Jolly kick), :02

Second quarter

Cd’A — Prka 2 run (Jolly kick), 4:05

Cd’A — Alex Karns 13 pass from Prka (Jolly kick), 3:36

Third quarter

Cd’A — Tanner Langley 17 blocked punt return (kick failed), 10:23

Cd’A — Trent Elstad 2 run (Jolly kick), 7:39

Cd’A — Gunner Giulio 47 pass from Prka (Jolly kick), 4:30

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — PF, McLeod 17-46, Anderson 4-5, Range 3-(minus 1), Hauser 1-(minus 3), Page 4-2. Cd’A, Elstad 7-56, Prka 6-(minus 1), Giulio 6-37, S. McLaughlin 1-2, Bengtson 2-(minus 2), Mallory 5-15.

PASSING — PF, Anderson 9-17-1-97, Page 2-5-0-4. Cd’A, Prka 23-33-0-281, Bengtson 4-5-0-22.

RECEIVING — PF, Hauser 4-35, Curlee 2-23, Lee 3-30, Rodriguez 1-7, C. Rutherford 1-6. Cd’A, L. McLaughliln 4-32, Karns 6-44, Garitone 7-68, Griffin 1-35, Elstad 2-15, Cope 2-31, Cummings 1-12, Giulio 1-47, Elliott 2-15, Smith 1-4.

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MARK NELKE/Press Isaiah Griffin of Coeur d'Alene maneuvers past Tommy Hauser of Post Falls to complete a 35-yard touchdown pass play on Friday night at Viking Field.

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MARK NELKE/Press Gunner Giulio of Coeur d'Alene avoids Post Falls defenders Tommy Hauser (13), Tristan White (9) and Ethan Miller to complete a 47-yard scoring pass play in the second half Friday night in Coeur d'Alene.