Junior Gunnar Amos heard the whispers when he took over for Chad Chalich as quarterback of the high-octane Coeur d'Alene High offense this season.
No way this team could do what last year's team did - average 52.2 points per game, en route to a 12-0 season and a second straight state 5A football championship.
After two games this year, Amos and the current Vikings might beg to differ. After last Friday's 58-20 demolition of West Linn (Ore.), Coeur d'Alene is averaging 49 points per game while off to a 2-0 start, extending its winning streak to 23 games.
"I got that a ton, with Chad leaving and me coming in," Amos said. "We have a lot of new guys, and we've all played together for a long time. On JV, we ran the same offense, and we were running it well on JV. The first week (vs. Skyview), we didn't run it too well. This week, we all came together, and we're starting to get going."
Did that talk motivate Amos and the Vikings?
"Oh, yeah," Amos said. "You hear that stuff, and you keep it in the back of your mind, and you remember. I think we showed today that we can put up some points with our guys."
Through two games, Coeur d'Alene is averaging 515 yards per game. Amos has passed for 649 yards and seven touchdowns, with two interceptions. He is also the team's leading rusher, with 120 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. Junior Addison Johnson has 11 receptions for 281 yards - an average of 25.55 yards per catch - and five touchdowns.
"He's a speedster - he's a legit 4.4 guy (in the 40-yard dash)," Amos said. "He's real fast. When I get him the ball, he's got a chance to take it to the house every time."
Coeur d'Alene coach Shawn Amos said he was "happy" this year's group - with several new faces in key positions - has picked up where last year's team left off offensively.
"We know we have good athletes on that side of the ball - both sides of the ball," Amos said. "So we knew eventually they would be able to produce. And this is one game. We took some big strides from the first game to the next game, and now, it's continue the process."
Coeur d'Alene plays host to Mercer Island (Wash.) on Saturday.
* After playing Mercer Island, next up for the Vikings is a matchup with Skyline of Sammamish, Wash., next Saturday (Sept. 15) at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, the finale of the four-game Idaho Football Classic. Skyline won the state 4A title in Washington last year.
Skyline opened its season last Friday with a 33-21 victory over Bothell, in a matchup of teams ranked in the preseason top five in 4A by the Seattle Times. Skyline quarterback Max Browne, who has committed to USC, passed for one touchdown and ran for another for Skyline.
(As an aside, how many Skyline Highs do we need? In addition to the one in Washington, there’s the one in Idaho Falls, one in Salt Lake City and one in Dallas — and that’s just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Very confusing.)
• Speaking of confusing, there’s Skyview High in Nampa, which is not to be confused with Skyview High of Vancouver — and we’ve done that before — which played Coeur d’Alene in 2010 and 2011. Coeur d’Alene played at Skyview — the one in Nampa — in its opener, and Skyview nearly pulled the upset before the Vikings rallied to win 40-36.
Last Saturday, Skyview lost to fellow 4A Southern Idaho Conference foe Bishop Kelly 24-12 in Boise, and the Hawks said there was a residual effect from the loss to Coeur d’Alene the week before.
“I thought our defense played extremely well, but our offense is still reeling,” Skyview coach David Young told The Idaho Statesman newspaper of Boise. “The Coeur d’Alene game took a toll on us and we’re still not healthy. But hats off to BK, they played a good game today.”
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at CdAPressSports.