Gridiron Guesses: Lots on the line in the final week
By MARK NELKE
and JASON ELLIOTT
Not that Post Falls is apologizing or anything, but the Trojans last week threw a monkey wrench into what was shaping up as the game for the 5A Inland Empire League championship tonight, Lewiston (7-1, 2-0 5A IEL) at Coeur d'Alene (5-2, 1-1) at 7 p.m. at Viking Stadium.
Now, just about any scenario is in play.
Post Falls (4-4, 1-1 5A IEL) plays host to Lake City (2-5, 0-2) in the other league finale.
The top two teams in the 5A IEL automatically qualify for the 12-team state playoffs, while the third-place finisher would have have to earn the lone at-large berth available statewide.
If Lewiston and Post Falls win, Lewiston is the top seed from the North, Post Falls is the No. 2, and Coeur d'Alene has to sweat out hoping to land the lone at-large berth to the playoffs.
If Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls win, there would be a three-way tie for the league title, and those two teams would join Lewiston for a Kansas tiebreaker Monday at Moscow. There, the top two teams would advance to the state playoffs, and the third-place finisher would have to earn the at-large berth.
If Lewiston finishes third in the tiebreaker, the Bengals would earn the at-large berth, based on the Idaho High School Activities Association's "Big School" criteria.
However, Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls might need some help if either of them finish third.
Of course, if Lake City beats Post Falls and Lewiston beats Coeur d'Alene, there would be a three-way tie for second, and a Kansas tiebreaker would be needed there to determine the second team to state, and a possible at-large team.
And if Coeur d'Alene beats Lewiston and Lake City beats Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene would be the top seed to state, Lewiston the No. 2, and the North might get shut out of the at-large berth.
Got all that?
Elsewhere, Lakeland (5-3, 1-0 4A Inland Empire League) travels to Sandpoint (4-2, 1-0) tonight at 7 to decide the league title and the league's automatic berth to the state playoffs. The loser figures to also get an at-large berth.
In the Intermountain League, Timberlake (5-2, 2-0 IML) can wrap up another league title with a win at Bonners Ferry (4-3, 1-1) tonight at 7.
And in the Scenic Idaho Conference, Lakeside (3-4, 1-0 SIC) can wrap up a playoff berth by beating visiting Wallace (2-5, 0-1).
As for the picks, Mark and Jason each went 3-1, with Post Falls' upset win the only 'L.' For the season, Mark is 32-13, Jason 29-16.
Lewiston (7-1, 2-0 5A IEL) at Coeur d’Alene (5-2, 1-1), 7 p.m.
NELKE: The last time Lewiston and Coeur d'Alene played a "key" 5A IEL game, the Bengals won 55-51 in Lewiston en route to the league title. This one shouldn't be that high-scoring ...
Coeur d'Alene, 34-28
ELLIOTT: It's Coeur d'Alene's league until someone knocks the Vikings off. Since the game is in Coeur d'Alene ...
Coeur d'Alene, 36-32
Lake City (2-5, 0-2 5A IEL) at Post Falls (4-4, 1-1), 7 p.m.
NELKE: Lake City was hoping to play a bigger role in the league race when the season begin, but tonight the Timberwolves can play the spoiler role.
Post Falls, 30-28
ELLLIOTT: Post Falls knows what's at stake, and I don't see a letdown tonight.
Post Falls, 44-28
Lakeland (5-3, 1-0 4A IEL) at Sandpoint (4-2, 1-0), 7 p.m.
NELKE: After going 3-1 vs. 5A IEL teams this year, Sandpoint has state title aspirations. But first, the Bulldogs must fend off Lakeland, which beat Moscow (59-0) worse than Sandpoint (42-6) did.
ELLIOTT: Lakeland looked pretty impressive against Moscow. With a bye week between games ...
Timberlake (5-2, 2-0 IML) at Bonners Ferry (4-3, 1-1), 7 p.m.
NELKE: Kellogg put up a fight last week in Spirit Lake, and the Badgers figure to also tonight in Bonners.
ELLIOTT: Seems like no matter the situation, this Timberlake team is just different this year.
Wallace (2-5, 0-1 SIC) at Lakeside (3-4, 1-0), 7 p.m.
NELKE: Lakeside won 56-52 at Wallace in the first meeting four weekends ago. This time ...
ELLIOTT: Lakeside finds a way to get to the playoffs again this year.
Kootenai (0-6, 0-2 NSL) vs. Mullan/St. Regis (6-1, 3-0) at John Drager Field, Mullan, 3 p.m.
NELKE: Kootenai had to forfeit to the Tigers-Tigers the first time around due to injuries and illness. This time ...
Mullan/St. Regis, 64-6
ELLIOTT: Mullan/St. Regis is just on a different level than Kootenai at the moment.
Mullan/St. Regis, 50-20
St. Maries (0-4, 0-0 CIL) at Orofino (1-5, 0-1), 2 p.m.
NELKE: Following a COVID-19 pause, St. Maries is scheduled to play for the first time in five weeks. Orofino lost 41-12 last week to Grangeville, whom St. Maries is scheduled to play next week.
ELLIOTT: St. Maries gets a much-needed win after a long break.
St. Maries, 16-14
5A INLAND EMPIRE LEAGUE
W L W L
Lewiston 2 0 7 1
Post Falls 1 1 4 4
Coeur d’Alene 1 1 5 2
Lake City 0 2 2 5
Lewiston at Coeur d’Alene
Lake City at Post Falls
4A INLAND EMPIRE LEAGUE
W L W L
Lakeland 1 0 5 3
Sandpoint 1 0 4 2
Moscow 0 2 3 5
Lakeland at Sandpoint
Moscow is idle
W L W L
Timberlake 2 0 5 2
Kellogg 1 1 5 2
Bonners Ferry 1 1 4 3
Priest River 0 2 1 6
Timberlake at Bonners Ferry
Priest River at Kellogg
CENTRAL IDAHO LEAGUE
W L W L
Grangeville 1 0 2 4
St. Maries 0 0 0 4
Orofino 0 1 1 5
Melba at Grangeville
St. Maries at Orofino
SCENIC IDAHO CONFERENCE
W L W L
Lakeside 1 0 3 4
Wallace 0 1 2 4
Wallace at Lakeside
NORTH STAR LEAGUE
W L W L
Mullan-St. Regis 3 0 6 1
Clark Fork 1 2 5 2
Kootenai 0 2 0 6
Kootenai vs. Mullan/St. Regis at Mullan
Clark Fork is idle