A few weeks ago, an assistant coach looked at the bracket mentioned to Coeur d’Alene High football coach Shawn Amos that if the Vikings could win the 5A Inland Empire League, they could play all three state playoff games in North Idaho.
The first two at home, and the championship game at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.
“Home, home and Dome,” one of the Viking players said.
First things first.
Following a first-round bye, Coeur d’Alene enters the state playoffs this week, playing host to Mountain View of Meridian in a quarterfinal game Friday at 7 p.m. at Viking Field.
In 3A, Timberlake, also coming off a first-round bye, plays host to Weiser on Saturday in a quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. at Van Tuinstra Memorial Field in Spirit Lake.
Mountain View’s only losses have come to Rocky Mountain (27-7 in Week 2), which won the 5A Southern Idaho Conference, and to Borah (44-37), which tied Mountain View for second in the conference.
Mountain View piled up 508 yards of offense last week in a 58-0 victory over Lake City in the first round, a game the Mavericks led 51-0 at halftime.
If the Vikings have designs on winning their first state title since 2013, they’ll likely have to go through all three of those teams — Borah at home in a semifinal, and Rocky in two weeks in the title game at the Kibbie Dome.
Weiser’s lone loss came two weeks ago at unbeaten Homedale (34-14).
A Timberlake win would likely mean a semifinal matchup at Homedale, which beat the Tigers in Spirit Lake in the semifinals last year.
As for the picks, Jason maintained his six-game lead for the season over Mark — but we knew that would happen going in, as Jason picked the same games Mark did. Both went 2-2 on high school picks, 3-0 on college picks. The misses were Post Falls and St. Maries losing at home in their playoffs openers.
For the season, Jason is 40-15 on preps, 25-8 on colleges, 65-23 overall.
Mark is 38-17 on preps, 21-12 on colleges, 59-29 overall.
At this point, a Kansas tiebreaker appears unlikely.
Mountain View (8-2) at Coeur d’Alene (7-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
NELKE: In recent weeks, Coeur d’Alene seems to have recovered from suffering turnover-itis through most of the season.
Coeur d’Alene, 45-31
ELLIOTT: This week, Coeur d’Alene finds a way in what could be a high scoring contest.
Coeur d’Alene, 45-42
Weiser (8-1) at Timberlake (8-0)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
NELKE: .004. That’s the reason this game is in Spirit Lake, and not Weiser. Timberlake’s final RPI ranking was .625, and Weiser’s was .621. The actual game might be that close as well.
ELLIOTT: Timberlake has been taking care of business all season long. The Tigers do it again this week.
Idaho (4-5, 2-3 Big Sky) at Montana (7-2, 4-1)
NELKE: Idaho still needs to prove it can play as well on the road as it does at home.
ELLIOTT: Could be a big day for Lake City High product Jerry Louie-McGee in the return game ...
Washington State (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) at California (4-4, 1-4)
Saturday, 4 p.m.
NELKE: Cal is averaging 10 points per game over its last four games, all losses.
ELLIOTT: Both teams need this one to keep whatever bowl hopes they might have alive.
Wyoming (6-2, 3-1 Mountain West) at Boise State (7-1, 4-0)
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
NELKE: Boise State might need the style points in its final four/five games as it yearns for a New Year’s Six bowl.
ELLIOTT: One way the Broncos can earn some points in my book ... get the game over by 11:20 on Saturday night.
Eastern Washington (4-5, 3-2 Big Sky) at Idaho State (3-6, 2-4)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
NELKE: Eastern is down by Eastern standards, but that should be good enough against an ISU squad that has taken a step back after last year’s breakthrough (by ISU standards) season.
ELLIOTT: Eastern Washington could still be in the running for a playoff berth. Let’s see if the Eagles can figure it out on the road this weekend.