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New Faces - Same Rivalry
#1 Highland (4-0) travels north to take on #3 Coeur d'Alene (4-0) in a rematch of the 2017 5A title game. We preview the matchup.
Published: 9/19/2018 1:16:30 PM


In what has become as competitive of a long-distance football rivalry as you can get, Highland (4-0) travels north to take on Coeur d’Alene (4-0) this weekend in a 2017 5A championship rematch. The Rams won last year by a score of 14-8 at Holt Arena in Pocatello. 

We will have a live broadcast of the game on with Sven Alskog, Ed DePriest and Jaxon Kingsbury on-site from Coeur d’Alene. 

With the excitement building up around what should be a fantastic top-five matchup, we take a look at some things you should know.  

RECENT HISTORY (4-3 in favor of Highland)

Highland and Coeur d’Alene have played seven times since 2012, with the Rams winning four and the Vikings taking three. Twice the matchup has been in the state championship, with the teams splitting those title tilts. The programs have alternated wins back and forth as evidenced by the scores below. If the order follows this script, Coeur d’Alene is next in line. 

November 17, 2017 (5A State Championship at Holt Arena)
Highland 14 – Coeur d’Alene 8

September 25, 2015 (Regular Season at Holt Arena)
Coeur d’Alene 27 – Highland 3

September 26, 2014 (At Coeur d’Alene)
Highland 13 – Coeur d’Alene 10

November 22, 2013 (5A State Championship at Kibbie Dome)
Coeur d’Alene 31 – Highland 28 

September 21, 2013 (Regular Season at Holt Arena)
Highland 24 – Coeur d’Alene 21

November 9, 2012 (Semifinal at Holt Arena)
Coeur d’Alene 45 – Highland 38

September 21, 2012 (Regular Season at Coeur d’Alene)
Highland 45 – Coeur d’Alene 26

Highland squared off with cross-town rival Pocatello in the Black and Blue Bowl and came out on top in a 37-21 victory. The win was the eighth consecutive in the series against the Indians for the Rams, who jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead. Quarterback Kobe Tracy continued his strong start to the season with 299 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Landon Demuzio carried eight times for 81 yards and had a receiving and rushing score. Highland also held Pocatello to just 94 yards in the first half and enters this week on a 13-game winning streak. Their last loss came in week two at home against Eagle last season, a 19-7 final. 

Coeur d’Alene hosted Eisenhower (WA) out of Yakima and blew the doors off the Cadets 52-14, scoring two touchdowns in 14 seconds in the first quarter. Quarterback Kale Edwards threw for 201 yards, ran for 30 and had his hand in six touchdowns on the night. The Vikings led 31-7 at the half. Colbey Nosworthy hauled in five passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to picking off an Eisenhower pass on the defensive end. Garrett Hagel had a fumble recovery and Kyle DeWitt had an interception as Coeur d’Alene went on to win the turnover battle 3-0.  

Despite graduating all but one offensive starter from a year ago, Coeur d’Alene has remained explosive through four contests, averaging 39 points per game against the likes of Rigby, Gonzaga Prep (WA), Mead (WA) and Eisenhower (WA). In the last two weeks the unit has put up 99 combined points, so things seem to be really clicking under the leadership of 6-foot-5-inch senior quarterback Kale Edwards, who has stepped in admirably with Colson Yankoff now at the University of Washington. Shilo Morgan has been a staple in the backfield as well in the early season and ran for 58 yards on six carries last week. 

Defensively opponents are averaging 22 points per game against the Vikings, with Mead being the high-scorer after putting up 34 on September 7. Six seniors start on this side of the ball, led by a tough defensive line featuring Ryan Linehan and Nate Burch. The rest of the starters are rounded out with three juniors and two sophomores. 

Kale Edwards, Senior, QB/S
6’5”, 210 pounds

Shilo Morgan, Senior, RB/LB
5’9”, 215 pounds

Garrett Hagel, Senior, WR/LB
5’10”, 190 pounds

Ryan Linehan, Senior, TE/DE 
6’3”, 215 pounds

Colbey Nosworthy, Junior, WR/S
6’1”, 180 pounds

Highland averages just over 35 points per game on the offensive side of the ball this season, and the unit has totaled 28 or more each week, with the high tally a 45 point performance against Ridgeline (UT). Kobe Tracy is the first quarterback within the program to start back-to-back seasons at the varsity level since Neil Jewell in the 2011 and 2012 campaigns. Tracy, Demuzio and offensive lineman Coleton Heinz are each First Team All-Conference returners from a season ago. Running back Jesus Garcia and receivers Andrew VanSickle and Josh Potter can also be expected to make major contributions for the Rams.

The defensive side of the ball is playing without current Ohio State defensive lineman Tommy Togiai, who made it near impossible for opponents to attack Highland in the middle over the last few years. Linebacker Micah Naumu has taken on a leadership role this season and the senior has helped lead a Rams defense which allows just over 12 points per game, including holding Pocatello to just 59 yards rushing on 22 carries last week.

Kobe Tracy, Senior, QB
6’4”, 170 pounds

Landon Demuzio, Senior, RB/WR
6’1”, 168 pounds

Micah Naumu, Senor, LB
6’0”, 185 pounds

Andrew VanSickle, Senior, WR
5’9”, 160 pounds

Jesus Garcia, Senior, RB
5’8”, 185 pounds

Highland – Gino Mariani
17th season, 4 state titles (02, 08, 14, 17)

Coeur d’Alene – Shawn Amos
22nd season, 3 state titles (10, 11, 13)

You’d be hard-pressed to pit two coaches up against each other in the state of Idaho who have experienced more success on the sideline than Mariani and Amos have. The two have went head-to-head time and time again over the years, including twice in state championships, with the coaches splitting those matchups. 

Mariani has gone 155-41 on the sidelines in Pocatello, and his next state title will put him alone on top all-time for Highland coaches with five. He was a college quarterback at Idaho State University and is the longest-tenured coach in Rams history. The Mariani family even opened their doors to Gunnar Amos, the son of Shawn, last year as he moved to Pocatello to play quarterback for ISU in his own right.  

Amos is 141-80 as the head coach of the Vikings, leading the program to three state title victories and creating a Pacific Northwest powerhouse. Also an advanced weights instructor at Coeur d’Alene High School, Amos is largely responsible for helping make the Lee Shellman Strength Center at the school a reality. The project was completed in 2011 and over $100,000 went in to making it a reality, giving the Vikings and students at the school a top of the line weight room. 

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Pacific Time
Location: Coeur d’Alene High School


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