THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE: Playing fast, like a rock, and a real long rivalry

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By the time you finish this sentence, the Post Falls High football team may have run two more plays.

At least, it seemed that way to fifth-year Mead coach Benji Sonnichsen, after his Panthers beat Post Falls 42-21 last Friday at Whitworth University’s Pine Bowl.

“Post Falls, they present a lot of challenges; they put you in a lot of conflict,” Sonnichsen said. “And then they go lightning fast. We pride ourselves on going fast — we’re not even close to them.

“With the new rule where the ball gets put down and the clock runs, we’re snapping the ball with 28 seconds left on the clock if we want to. They snap the ball with like 34 seconds left on the clock. So, the ball gets put down, and they’re snapping the ball in six seconds. It’s just crazy.”

For his part, Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett was happy his team got to play in a college stadium — one with artificial turf.

“Thanks to Whitworth for allowing us to play this game in the Pine Bowl,” Bennett said, “and that was a lot of fun for our kids.”

Bennett got to coach on the field he formerly played on while at Whitworth, graduating in 1979.

Back then, the Pine Bowl was a grass field, and wasn’t converted to an artificial turf field until a few years ago.

It wasn’t THAT long ago that Bennett played at Whitworth.

“We didn’t have leather helmets; we had regular helmets,” he said with a laugh.

JEREMIAH BECKETT, Lakeland’s boys soccer coach, called to clarify something the other day.

On Sunday, the Press reported Hawks goalkeeper Bradley Munson suffered a hairline fracture in his left arm when he fell on a rock while playing in the field in a junior varsity game at Post Falls last Tuesday.

Beckett said what he meant to say was that Munson “fell like a rock,” not fell “on a rock.”

Either way, the Hawks’ star keeper may be out for some time.

COEUR d’ALENE’S LOSS at Gonzaga Prep in football last Friday in Spokane was the Vikings’ first to the Bullpups since 1979.

OK, that’s a little deceiving, since the schools have met just four times since then.

Coeur d’Alene won at home in 1981, and won the following year at Spokane Falls Community College. Coeur d’Alene won at Viking Field in 2018; last Friday’s game was the first played on the Gonzaga Prep campus.

According to Spokane Chalk Talk, a Greater Spokane League historical site run by Mike Schock, former Rogers High standout, former North Idaho College baseball player and former Press sports writer, Coeur d’Alene and Gonzaga Prep have now met nine times over the last 96 seasons.

The first two matchups were held in 1924 and ’25, at Gonzaga Stadium on the campus of Gonzaga University, back in the days the Zags fielded a football team.

(No, my friend Greg Lee and I were not on the sidelines for those first two games — it only seems like we’ve been around that long!).

Back in those days, Spokane’s city football teams played their games at GU, much like the Greater Spokane League does at Joe Albi Stadium now — and has done since 1950. Prep won both games at GU, 19-9 and 27-0.

Prep won 15-6 at Coeur d’Alene in 1942, and Cd’A won the next year at home, 20-14.

The teams did not meet again until 1979, when Gonzaga Prep won 19-7 at Coeur d’Alene.

Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos said he hopes the two teams can meet a little more frequently in the future. But reclassification every few years — on each side of the border — could have a say in that plan.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.

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