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Gridiron Guesses: Beware the Vikings as league play begins

| October 8, 2021 1:30 AM

By MARK NELKE

and JASON ELLIOTT

Sports writers

And to think there might have been a time earlier in the season when people underestimated the Coeur d'Alene Vikings.

After Coeur d'Alene was handled by Lehi (Utah) 33-7 in the season opener, the Vikings have ripped off four straight victories, each of them impressive in their own way.

"We're capable of a lot," Coeur d'Alene running back/linebacker Gunner Giulio said after the Vikings' third victory in that stretch, 27-17 over Skyview of Vancouver, Wash., at Roos Field in Cheney. "I would say, don’t underrate us."

And as for folks who want to underestimate Coeur d'Alene?

"Do it; we’re ready for the challenge," Giulio said.

The Vikings are clicking just as league play begins for the area's 5A, 4A and 3A schools.

In the 5A Inland Empire League tonight, Coeur d'Alene travels to Lake City, and Post Falls visits Lakeland.

In the 4A IEL, Lakeland is home vs. Moscow.

In the Intermountain League (3A), Timberlake is home vs. Priest River.

Coeur d'Alene has dominated Lake City in football in recent years. Lake City's last win was a 45-42 overtime win at Coeur d'Alene in 2014. Since then, the Vikings have won seven straight by a combined 351-98 — or an average score of 50-14.

Last year, the teams met twice in the regular season due to COVID-19, with Coeur d'Alene wining 40-13 at Lake City and 64-34 at home.

“They’ve got some good guys and some good athletes,” Coeur d'Alene coach Shawn Amos said of Lake City. “It’s a rivalry game, so you want to take each game as a new game. It really doesn’t matter who we’re playing, but Lake City has some guys that can play. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

Lake City followed up a 26-12 victory over Moscow two weeks ago with a 28-13 loss at Sandpoint last week, and still appears to be a work in progress.

"I thought we moved the ball more consistently this week," Lake City coach Brian Fulp said after the Sandpoint game. "We just have to get better at executing, and that’s on me, finishing when we get into that scoring territory."

Lewiston scores a lot of points — but the Bengals do it running the football. Lewiston is averaging 49.5 points per game, with its lone loss 42-41 in overtime at Sandpoint two weeks ago.

"They run the ball well, they always have run the ball well," Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said of Lewiston. "They put a lot of pressure on the defense because they can control the ball and put a lot of points on the board.

After a rough start against stout competition, Post Falls has won two straight.

"We’ve gotten better every single week," Bennett said. "We're playing our best football right now

As for the picks, Mark went 5-0. Jason went 4-1, perhaps riling up Lakeland by picking Timberlake. For the season, Mark is 25-11, Jason 21-15.

HIGH SCHOOLS

All games at 7 p.m.

Coeur d’Alene (4-1) at Lake City (2-3)

NELKE: Until someone proves they can dethrone the champ ...

Coeur d'Alene, 40-13

ELLIOTT: Coeur d'Alene was rolling last week, and it wasn't even a rivalry game.

Coeur d'Alene, 56-20

Post Falls (3-3) at Lewiston (5-1)

NELKE: Post Falls has won five straight over Lewiston. Making it six straight will be a challenge, with the game on the Bengals' home field. But ...

Post Falls, 38-34

ELLIOTT: Post Falls has figured something out offensively in the last few weeks. Lewiston seems to play better at home though.

Lewiston, 28-27

Moscow (3-3) at Lakeland (4-3)

NELKE: Moscow has beaten Lakeland three straight years. This year, not that comparative scores means everything, but Moscow lost by three to Timberlake — a team Lakeland beat by 50.

Lakeland, 31-20

ELLIOTT: After last week, I'm not picking against Lakeland this time.

Lakeland, 44-20

Priest River (1-4) at Timberlake (3-2)

NELKE: A chance for Timberlake to bounce back from last week's spanking by Lakeland against a team whose lone victory came via forfeit.

Timberlake, 44-8

ELLIOTT: Timberlake with its annual reminder to the Intermountain League that its going to be a tough out.

Timberlake, 44-0

Lakeside (2-4) at Kootenai (0-4)

NELKE: Kootenai had to forfeit last week's game to Mullan/St. Regis due to injuries and illnesses. Tonight would be the Warriors' first game since Sept. 10.

Lakeside, 48-8

ELLIOTT: Lakeside is just too tough in this game.

Lakeside, 44-24

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