Photo By Mike Turner - #13 Tommy Houser
Written by Zack Kellogg
Post Falls has been a team of consistency during Blaine Bennett’s tenure as head coach. The Trojans have yet to post a losing record since 2015 and have made the state tournament the last three seasons.
But they have yet to find a way to get over the hump and advance further than the second round. With having a scheme that has worked and players buying into the culture and systems, it appears there needs to be that X factor for the Trojans to find their way to a deep postseason run.
The team’s main point of emphasis for success offensively relies on quarterback Derek Pearse and running back Eli Gondo’s replacements. With the Trojans sticking with a balanced attack with the pass and run game, who will be asked to fill in for the production is not known yet.
Gondo finished with 11 touchdowns on the ground, rushed for 1,010 yards averaging 4.8 yards a carry, and had six games with over 100 yards rushing in nine games played. While still catching 20 passes in his senior season, finding who is going to step into this role will be key to the offense’s success and getting pressure off of the new quarterback under center.
Pearse provided a high level of play during his senior year, tossing for 30 touchdowns, completing over 60% of his passes and having nearly 3,000 yards in 10 games.
With running an offense that called for straight dropbacks, a big arm and reading defenses with run-pass-option schemes and plays, Bennett said whoever is called on as the new quarterback will have the biggest part to the team’s success.
Losing Justin Gies to graduation on the offensive line gives more opportunity for the next man up mentality.
If the line can not only provide running lanes for the running back but be quick and hold blocks during an increased temp offense, a recipe for a quick and deadly offense that slashes teams with quick passes, yards after the catch and some downhill running could be expected.
Helping with the attack on the outside will be senior wideout Tommy Houser, who has the speed to run a wide range of routes and shoot gaps for big gains on deep passes, quick cuts through the middle or finding lanes on screen passes.
On defense, things will also remain the same scheme-wise. The 4-3 defense will rely heavily on the linebackers reading and reacting, a defensive line able to get in the backfield and plug holes and a secondary locking defenders and jamming routes.
Senior linebacker Josiah Shields mans the middle of the defense entering his senior year. Shields is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him average over 11 tackles per game, bowling his way into the backfield while also dropping into coverage. His ability to read the play and drive to the ball, whether it’s in the air or on the ground, will be needed to disrupt opposing offenses.
Not much has been said to who else will be expected to step up and fill voids on offense or defense, but with the system in place, Bennett has the history of finding ways to win.
Post Falls opens the season Aug. 28 at Sandpoint.