GRIDIRON GUESSES: Area schools look to avenge setbacks in semifinals

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Coeur d’Alene and Timberlake both have a bit of payback on their minds this week.

Not against each other, of course.

But both the Vikings and Tigers will be looking to avenge recent losses in their state semifinal games this weekend.

Coeur d’Alene (8-2) plays host to Highland (8-3) of Pocatello on Friday at 7 p.m. at Viking Field in a state 5A semifinal.

Highland beat Coeur d’Alene 28-21 at Holt Arena in Pocatello on Sept. 27.

“It’s Highland — come on,” Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos said of the rematch. “I’m sure they’re as excited to play as we are. They punched us in the mouth in the first quarter the last time we played, and then it became a pretty good football game.”

Timberlake (9-0) plays at Homedale (10-0) on Saturday at noon PST in a state 3A semifinal.

Homedale won 35-20 at Timberlake in the semis last year.

“They were an offensive team last year, and they have a very good defense this year,” Timberlake defensive coordinator Kelly Amos said of Homedale, which allows an average of 6 points per game. “They run the ball more than they did last year; they have more dudes. “They at times, remind us of us — good speed on defense, fast, really aggressive. They control the ball, but they have good speed guys on the outside that you have to cover. “They might be the fastest team we’ve faced all year.”

Usually Highland earns a high enough seed to play some, if not all, playoff games at home. But the Rams will be playing on the road for the fifth straight week, including the third straight week in the playoffs — which will be a total trek of around 2,000 miles.

Kaleb Demuzio, Highland’s star running back, is 50/50 for Friday’s game because of a bursa sac issue, Rams coach Gino Mariani said.

Amos said the Vikings weren’t necessarily pulling for a rematch with Highland — they’re just happy to keep playing, after last week’s close call vs. Mountain View.

“Highland’s tough; it’s nice to not see Austin Bolt,” Amos said, referring to Borah’s dual-threat quarterback. “All four teams left could win it; you’ve just got to play your best on that night. Another semi; another trophy in the case — we’ll just see what color it is now.”

Rigby visits Rocky Mountain in the other 5A semifinal.

If Coeur d’Alene wins, the title game would be at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

Homedale quarterback Daniel Uranga has passed for 2,092 yards and 27 touchdowns, with just two interceptions. Karsen Freelove has rushed for 1,016 yards and 15 TDs.

Timberlake is different, too, this year, offensive coordinator Brian Kluss said.

“If we are unable to play great defense ... we’re still able to move the ball, and we’re still able to score, and it becomes a different style of game,” he said. “It’s not the style we want to play, but we can do it. We’ve never been able to do that in the past.”

Sugar-Salem plays Snake River in the other 3A semi. If Timberlake wins, the title game would be at the Kibbie Dome.

As for the picks, Jason was perfect on high school and college picks, while Mark foolishly thought the Cougs would figure it out at Cal.

For the season, Jason is 42-15 on high school picks, 29-8 on college for a total of 71-23.

Mark is 40-17 on high school picks, 24-13 on college for a total of 64-30.

HIGH SCHOOL

Highland (8-3) at Coeur d’Alene (8-2)

Friday, 7 p.m.

NELKE: Since the rematch is in Coeur d’Alene ...

Coeur d’Alene, 28-21

ELLIOTT: Coeur d’Alene hasn’t been able to close it out in recent matchups with Highland. Those games were in Pocatello. This one is outside where anything can happen this time of year.

Coeur d’Alene, 24-22

Timberlake (9-0) at Homedale (10-0)

Saturday, noon

NELKE: One of these years, Timberlake will break through to the title game. Why not this year?

Timberlake, 35-28

ELLIOTT: Timberlake’s ready to break through, and have shown it all year long. In a thriller ...

Timberlake, 33-30

COLLEGE

Stanford (4-5, 3-4 Pac-12) at Washington State (4-5, 1-5)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

NELKE: Despite their midseason swoon, the Cougs need two wins in their final three games to become bowl eligible — and I’m pretty sure they’d like to have that decided prior to the Apple Cup.

WSU, 34-13

ELLIOTT: Start those Mike Leach to Arkansas rumors.

Stanford, 34-30

Sacramento State (7-3, 5-1 Big Sky) at Idaho (4-6, 2-4)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

NELKE: The Hornets are battling for an FCS playoff berth; the Vandals are trying to avoid another losing season. And Idaho is 4-1 at home.

Idaho, 20-19

ELLIOTT: If Idaho plays like it started against Montana last Saturday it should be a good game.

Sacramento State, 34-27

New Mexico (2-7, 0-5 Mountain West) at Boise State (8-1, 5-0)

Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

NELKE: For coach Bryan Harsin’s sake, perhaps the Broncos can pound the Lobos from the start, leaving what he called the “Twidiots” to complain about something else.

BSU, 45-7

ELLIOTT: Boise State should have lost at home against Wyoming last Saturday. This one shouldn’t be as close.

BSU, 38-14

Eastern Washington (5-5, 4-2 Big Sky) at Cal Poly (2-7, 1-5)

Saturday, 5 p.m.

NELKE: Cal Poly scored all of 9 points in its last game, a 21-9 loss at Idaho two weeks ago. Eastern often scores 9 points before most of the crowd has filed in.

EWU, 27-9

ELLIOTT: Eastern Washington has had recent issues on the road that will long be forgotten come Saturday night.

EWU, 44-20

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