Gondo runs Post Falls past Lakeland

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RATHDRUM — After three touchdowns in a losing effort last week at Moses Lake, Post Falls junior tailback Eli Gondo didn’t wait long to get another touchdown.

Then another.

And another.

And another.

Gondo carried the ball 41 times for 164 yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans beat the Lakeland Hawks 35-16 in a nonleague football game at Corbit Field on Friday.

“We’ve been working on running different stuff against their defense,” Gondo said. “Coach told me I’d be getting the ball a lot in the first half, and our offensive line was amazing tonight. Our line did really well tonight.”

“He’s really doing well,” Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said. “He’s a good, hard runner and can catch the football out of the backfield. When you do one-way, he can stay fresh on the sideline. He’s doing a nice job for us running the ball and working hard.”

Gondo has nine touchdowns in his last three after scoring twice in a nonleague loss to University High on Sept. 7.

“Lakeland has a potent offense, so we wanted to make sure we were taking time off the clock,” Bennett said. “We couldn’t get go out and throw the ball all over, go 3-and-out and turn the ball right over. Our offensive blocked well and we ran the ball efficiently.”

Post Falls (2-3) is off until it opens 5A Inland Empire League play at Lake City on Oct. 5.

“We’re going to take a couple of days in practice and try to get better,” Bennett said. “We’re still a young team, with a lot of sophomores and juniors. We need to practice, and get better and prepare for Lake City and the league. We’ve got to become a little better each day. It will be about playing football and getting better in all three phases.”

Post Falls had lost its last two games by a combined 12 points.

“It really dictates how the rest of the season can do for us,” Gondo said. “We needed to get this one to have a good chance in the next two games. We struggled early with guys not playing varsity early in the season, but have been playing a lot better lately.”

Lakeland finished with 126 yards rushing, led by Cage Hendry with 68 yards and Ezra Grigg with 57.

“Post Falls was far more physical that we were tonight,” Lakeland coach Tim Kiefer said. “That was really something that we really wanted to focus on, and we did not respond.”

Grigg had a 29-yard run to set up a touchdown by Hendry in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 21-10 with 1:30 remaining in the third.

“Ez is a great athlete,” Kiefer said. “Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field. We just couldn’t complete drives when we were in the red zone. We had two drives in the first half, one was a great play on Ezra, and another was a ball that was thrown a little high. Had we completed those, it’s a different game. Great teams are the ones that find a way to get into the end zone, and we’re still trying to find that.”

Post Falls sophomore Tommy Hauser returned a kickoff 75 yards, setting up a 3-yard run by Gondo to give Post Falls a 28-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We’re young, and our kids are learning,” Kiefer said. “I don’t think we competed as well as I would have wanted, but it’s a process.”

Lakeland (2-2) visits Timberlake next Friday.

Post Falls 7 14 0 14 — 35

Lakeland 3 0 7 6 — 16

First quarter

PF — Eli Gondo 2 run (Josh Brisendine kick), 8:18

LL — FG Colin Bell, 30, :53

Second quarter

PF — Gondo 3 run (Brisendine kick), 10:58

PF — Kaden Cripps 3 run (Brisendine kick), 7:54

Third quarter

LL — Cage Hendry 11 run (Bell kick), 1:30

Fourth quarter

PF — Gondo 3 run (Brisendine kick), 11:40

LL — Brandon Furey 2 run (pass failed), 5:42

PF — Gondo 11 run (Brisendine kick), 2:19

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — PF, Gondo 41-164, Cripps 1-3, Schmitt 2-6. LL, Hendry 19-68, Grigg 12-57, Furey 9-24, T. McArthur 2-(-1), Asher 3-4.

PASSING — PF, Pearse, 9-11-0-111. LL, Furey, 17-33-0-128.

RECEIVING — PF, Horning 5-54, J. Rutherford 1-5, Shields 1-6, Hauser 2-46. LL, I. McArthur 4-18, Hendry 1-18, Johnson 5-38, T. McArthur 2-15, Grigg 5-37.

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