Post Falls, Lake City square off in league opener

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League play in the 5A Inland Empire League begins tonight with one team looking to build off a big win last week, and the other still searching for answers.

Lake City (1-1-1), which routed W.F. West of Chehalis, Wash., 52-14 last week, plays host to Post Falls, coming off a 35-14 home loss to East Valley.

"We've got to fix ourselves a little bit," Post Falls coach Jeff Hinz said. "We have some of our own issues, and it's our job as a coaching staff to figure it out and clean it up. We have to convert on second and third down offensively, and we've got to stop the run defensively."

Post Falls beat Lake City in a pair of close games last year (the second one in league) for its first wins over the Timberwolves since 2004, but Lake City beat the Trojans in a Kansas tiebreaker to advance to the state playoffs.

This year, with the league teams meeting again in a play-in game to the state playoffs after they have already played each other in league, the league games don't carry quite as much weight.

Still, results help determine seeding for those play-in games.

“All it comes down to is that one last game at the end anyway,” Hinz said.

Highland (2-1) at Coeur d’Alene (3-1): The Vikings, ranked No. 2 in 5A this week, attempt to bounce back from last week’s 71-20 thumping at the hands of Skyline of Sammamish, Wash., which snapped their 24-game winning streak.

The Rams, ranked No. 3, have beaten Century (35-7) and Twin Falls (31-14), and lost to Orem, Utah (42-24). Highland was idle last week.

The game could be a preview of a playoff matchup in November.

Lakeland (1-2) at Deer Park (3-0): Lakeland turned to its ground game to churn out its first victory, 38-17 over Cheney last week. The Hawks are hopeful quarterback Derek Bayley, who suffered a sprained wrist, will be able to play tonight. However, running back Corey Hansel (badly sprained left ankle) is doubtful.

Deer Park owns wins over Chewelah (28-18), Riverside (35-7) and St. Maries (27-8).

Kellogg (0-4) at St. Maries (1-2): This is a rematch of a game played four weeks ago, won by St. Maries 54-7 at home. Kellogg has been outscored 226-31 so far this season.

Sandpoint (0-3) at Timberlake (1-2): This will be the first time Timberlake, a 3A school which opened in 1998, has played Sandpoint, a 4A school. Timberlake is coming off two straight losses, both on the road, while Sandpoint’s losses have come to East Valley, West Valley and Post Falls. Sandpoint, rebuilding under new/former coach Satini Puailoa, is 1-11 since the start of the 2011 season.

Potlatch (3-0) at Lakeside (0-2): The Loggers are ranked No. 5 in 1A Division I, and were idle last week after beating Lapwai 60-12. Lakeside was supposed to play Lapwai last week, but the game was scrapped because of poor air quality in Lapwai and in Plummer.

Kootenai (2-2, 1-0 1A Division II North Star League) at Mullan (1-2, 0-1): Kootenai already owns a 52-6 league win last week over Clark Fork, which beat Mullan 80-34 three weeks ago.

Today's Games

Highland at Coeur d'Alene, 7 p.m.

Post Falls at Lake City, 7

Lakeland at Deer Park, 7

Kellogg at St. Maries, 7

Sandpoint at Timberlake, 7

Potlatch at Lakeside, 7

Kootenai at Mullan, 3:30 p.m.

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