THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE: Playing elsewhere, and other stuff

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It happens often at the professional level.

They’re called the “San Francisco” 49ers, though they play their home games in Santa Clara, some 45 miles away.

They’re called the “Dallas” Cowboys, though they train in Frisco, Texas, some 29 miles away to the north, and play home games in Arlington, 20 miles away to the west.

But at the high school level? Not that often.

An exception is the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy boys and girls soccer teams, who play their home games in Post Falls.

Makes sense.

Charter doesn’t have an on-campus field. In past seasons, it has played home games on a church field, on a neighboring high school’s field, and on the local college’s field.

This year, the Panthers played their home games at The Fields at Real Life Ministries, a couple of artificial turf fields. The Fields is also the site of this week’s 3A District 1-2 boys and girls soccer tournaments, which resume with the semifinals on Friday and the championship games on Saturday.

The Fields are a mere 9 miles away — 12 minutes via Ramsey and I-90, a relatively straight shot compared to the other convoluted routes you have to take to Post Falls from other locations in Coeur d’Alene.

And while a few snickerers like to refer to them as the Santa Clara 49ers, and when the Final Four was played in Arlington it was referred to as “North Texas,” there’s no clamoring to dub them the Kootenai County Charter Academy Panthers.

At least, that we know of.

• How imbalanced is the Intermountain League this season?

Timberlake is 6-0 this season. The rest of the IML is a combined 2-14, with both wins by Kellogg — one of them over another league foe, Priest River.

Other than a couple years ago, when Timberlake had a rare down year and a talented, senior-laden Kellogg squad won their first league title since 1973, it’s often been this way in the IML in recent years.

Two IML teams will make the state 3A playoffs, and Kellogg can wrap up a berth with a win over winless Bonners Ferry this week.

• In last week’s Lake City-Post Falls games, both teams were without their starting placekickers.

Seven touchdowns were scored, but only one PAT kick was made — by Louis Sachse of Post Falls, a German exchange student.

Lake City tried a gadget play after its first touchdown, and went for two the other two times.

Seemed weird for a 5A game.

Games in Idaho seldom come down to field goals, but if they did ...

Coeur d’Alene has usually had a pretty reliable placekicker over the years.

• Back to that local spring arena football team that standouts from several area schools played on ...

Derek Pearse, now a senior and two-year starting quarterback at Post Falls, said he enjoyed playing on the team (in grades 5-7) with players he’d played against in Junior Tackle.

“I just remember it was really cool because I got to play more football in the winter, and I got to play with all my friends,” Pearse recalled.

Interesting to think that team, which played games as far way as Seattle, and went undefeated as sixth- and seventh-graders, eventually produced two of the top quarterbacks in the area this year in Pearse and Joey Follini of Timberlake.

“He actually played receiver for us one year,” Pearse said of those arena football days. “He played quarterback sometimes, and I played receiver sometimes.”

Post Falls hasn’t played Timberlake in years. But Pearse went up against another old arena football teammate last week in receiver/cornerback Logan Jeanselme of Lake City, with Pearse and the Trojans pulling out a 25-20 win over the Timberwolves in the 5A Inland Empire League opener.

“Joey’s doing really well up there (at Timberlake), and Logan’s playing really well at Lake City,” Pearse said.

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

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