MOSCOW — Mountain View probably felt pretty good after the first half of Friday’s state 5A semifinal football game at the Kibbie Dome.
The Mavericks of Meridian sacked star Coeur d’Alene quarterback Colson Yankoff three times, blocked a field goal and held the Vikings — boasting one of the best offensive lines in school history — to 41 rushing yards.
But still, Coeur d’Alene led 19-6 at intermission.
Perhaps that was an omen.
In the second half, the Viking offensive line took over the game, Coeur d’Alene started the second half with two touchdown drives and a pick-6, and coasted to a 39-13 victory to advance to the state championship game for the first time since 2013.
“We just knew we had to come out fired up (in the second half); we knew we had to pound the rock more,” Coeur d’Alene senior offensive guard Gabe Zanetti said. “We knew we were more physical up front, and if we outplayed them and outworked them, we’d take over the game right there.”
Coeur d’Alene (9-2) will play Highland (9-1) of Pocatello in the state title game next Friday at Holt Arena in Pocatello at 4:30 p.m. PST. Highland won 26-3 at Rocky Mountain of Meridian in the other semifinal.
In a game where Coeur d’Alene totaled 531 yards, senior Ross Chadderdon made two of the biggest plays of the game — on defense.
In the first half, with the Vikings leading 19-6 and Mountain View quarterback Noah Bryant scrambling for a big gain, the Coeur d’Alene linebacker chased him down, knocked the ball out of his hand and teammate Ben Hoffman recovered at the Vikings’ 17.
In the third quarter, after Coeur d’Alene had scored on its first two drives, Chadderdon picked off a Bryant pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown, boosting the Vikings’ lead to 39-6.
“Talk about a great football player,” said Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos, who had just gotten done saying the Vikings have a lot of them. “He plays 100 miles an hour, all the time, 100 percent effort. Just a great football player.”
Bryant was racing down the middle of the field, then veered to the left on what would end up being a 19-yard gain — until the fumble.
“It was an open shot, and I took a punch at it and it came loose,” said Chadderdon, who also had a strip sack earlier in the first half. “I saw him and I knew I was going to catch up with him.”
Yankoff, the University of Washington commit, passed for 294 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 80 yards and another score. He was not sacked in the second half.
“He’s special, obviously, but the thing is, the reason we’re such a good team is we’ve got a lot of guys that can play good football,” Amos said. “And we’ve got guys that are unselfish, and are willing to accept their role. You can’t win championships with one guy; you need a big group of guys, and we’re blessed to have those guys.”
Eight different Vikings caught passes from Yankoff. Shilo Morgan ran for 100 yards on 16 carries — many of those yards coming in the second half, after carries where he absorbed a big hit from a Mountain View defender, only to bounce off it and gain even more yards.
“A lot of weapons,” Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said of Coeur d’Alene. “The difference-maker, obviously, is Yankoff. He takes them from a good team to a great team.
“They’re not a one-trick pony. They have all kinds of playmakers. He just happens to be the one that makes them special.”
Kyler Prendergast got behind the cornerback and hauled in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Yankoff for the game’s first score.
Mountain View answered with a 22-yard keeper by Bryant on fourth and 4 to cut Coeur d’Alene’s lead to 8-6.
Seth Harrison kicked a 26-yard field goal and the Vikings got a safety when the Mavs’ punt snap sailed over the punter’s head and rolled out of the end zone.
Late in the first half, Yankoff rolled right, then threw back left to Morgan, who tightroped down the sideline to complete the 22-yard scoring play.
The Viks took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards in nine plays, Caleb Beggerly sprinting around left end for the final 5 yards.
After a Mavs’ three-and-out, Coeur d’Alene drove again, with Yankoff deking a couple Mountain View linemen, cutting up the middle and running it in from 5 yards out.
Chadderdon’s pick-6 came on the second play after the kickoff.
“One more,” Amos said, referring to the title game.
Mountain View had 242 yards in the first half, but just 74 after intermission.
Coeur d’Alene rushed for 196 yards in the second half, 237 for the game.
“They were hard to run against,” Amos said of Mountain View. “It was more of us establishing the run; they made it really tough to run the ball. They had a good plan, and we just had to stay patient and run the football.
“We blocked better,” Amos said of the second half. “The thing is, we didn’t panic; we just kept playing.”
Mountain View, coming off its first state title in school history, was trying to reach the title game for the fourth straight season.
“Their schemes make it tough on you because they spread you out horizontally and vertically,” Benedick said of the Vikings. “And they’re a smart coaching staff. If you pack too many in the box, they’re going to take advantage of you on the perimeter. If you spread yourself out, they’re going to run the ball with Yankoff, or one of their other backs. You can’t take it all away; you try to minimize big gains. You try to make them earn stuff. We made some mistakes early when we had some momentum, and that disappeared with our mistakes.”
Mountain View 6 0 7 0 — 13
Coeur d’Alene 11 8 20 0 — 39
Cd’A — Kyler Prendergast 32 pass from Colson Yankoff (Yankoff run), 6:25
MV — Noah Bryant 22 run (run failed), 3:21
Cd’A — FG Seth Harrison 26, :58
Cd’A — Safety punt snapped through end zone, 7:34
Cd’A — Shilo Morgan 22 pass from Yankoff (pass failed), 1:12
Cd’A — Caleb Beggerly 5 run (run failed), 9:29
Cd’A — Yankoff 5 run (Harrison kick), 3:22
Cd’A — Ross Chadderdon 26 interception return (Harrison kick), 2:49
MV — K.J. Lynch 56 pass from Bryant (Magnus Wattles kick), 1:29
RUSHING — MV, Hansen 14-81, Bryant 9-65, Elwell 4-7, Leiby 3-9, Ho 1-(minus 5), Barrus 3-1. Cd’A, Yankoff 16-80, Morgan 13-100, Beggerly 11-57, Edwards 2-0.
PASSING — MV, Bryant 13-29-1-158. Cd’A, Yankoff 29-40-1-294.
RECEIVING — MV, Lynch 8-119, Ho 2-18, Elwell 1-3, Ball 1-13, Jablonski 1-5. Cd’A, Matheson 7-9, Morgan 3-30, K. Hegel 6-52, Prendergast 5-89, Ramseyer 3-62, Beggerly 1-5, Chadderdon 2-42, Gove 2-5.