Post Falls High School
Conference: 5A Inland Empire League
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Head Coach: Blaine Bennett
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 30 Years
Record Last Year: 6-3
QB Nate Buer (Sr)
RB/K Braden Vaughan (Sr)
RB/TE Quin Bennett (Sr)
TE/LB Dereck Tonasket (Sr)
DB Casey Walker (Sr)
WR Allen Ballew (Sr)
DB Junior Williams (Sr)
WR/DB Taylor Ryan (Sr)
OL Bryce Arrieta (Sr)
OL/DL Devin Eckness (Sr)
LB Gage Ficklin (Sr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Buer, IEL Co-Newcomer of the Year
Key Players lost from last year:
DL Nate DeGraw
DL Bradnley Noesen
WR Jayden Gering
DB Cameron McKeown
Written by: Will Hoenike
For the first seven weeks of the 2016 season the Post Falls Trojans were a revelation in the 5A classification. Six wins and a lot of momentum going into their final two games of the regular season.
But then Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston happened. Two very good opponents got the better of the Trojans so, despite posting a strong 6-3 season, Post Falls missed out on postseason play.
Head coach Blaine Bennett and his staff would like to see the ending reversed this season, but they’ll need to continue to grow and develop along the offensive and defensive fronts for it to happen. The Trojans lost All-IEL defensive linemen Nate DeGraw and Bradley Noesen off of last season’s team and only return two seniors along the offensive and defensive lines. Devin Eckness, a 255-pound senior, will likely see action on both lines while 6-foot-6 senior Bryce Arrieta will have an opportunity to win a full-time job on the offensive side of the ball. Senior Dereck Tonasket will also be asked to help with the blocking schemes as a tight end.
Offensively, that group will be asked to help protect quarterback Nate Buer. Buer was the IEL’s co-Newcomer of the Year in 2016 and now has a full season under his belt in Bennett’s system. He’ll hand the ball to two-sport standout Braden Vaughan. On top of serving as one of the team’s primary ball-carriers, Vaughan plays soccer as well. In a key IEL game last season, 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior rushed for 127 yards and four big touchdowns in a win over Lake City. He also had 65 yards, a touchdown run, and connected on four point-after touchdown kicks in a two-point win over Lakeland.
Quin Bennett – no relation – should also see time in the offensive backfield.
When Post Falls goes to the air, Buer won’t have the luxury of all-conference receiver Jayden Gering, who graduated last spring. He’ll have Bennett, Tonasket and senior receivers Allen Ballew and Taylor Ryan as potential targets.
Defensively, before running into Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston (two of the top 5A teams in all of Idaho last season) late in the campaign, the Trojans had a nice season limiting opposition’s offenses. Through the team’s first seven games, the Trojans were allowing just over 16 points per game and they have some talented players back on the defensive side of the ball.
Tonasket and Gage Ficklin will occupy key linebacker spots on the Post Falls defense. Ryan, Casey Walker and Junior Williams will hold down positions in the defensive backfield.
Williams won a state basketball championship last winter at Genesis Prep and is able to play football at Post Falls because Genesis Prep does not field a football team, giving Coach Bennett’s defense a lift athletically.
Post Falls has a nine-game schedule and four of its opponents are from Washington. The Trojans will also face two, 4A IEL opponents (Sandpoint and Lakeland) before venturing into 5A IEL play. At that point, starting on October 6 when Lake City comes to town, it’s a three-week race to the finish with the top two teams from the four-team IEL qualifying for the postseason.
Coach Bennett’s team has the potential to claim one of those two spots. Good health, continued progress developing depth along the offensive and defensive fronts and taking care of the football will go a long way in determining whether or not the Trojans are playing football in November.