Head Coach: Blaine Bennett
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Record Last Year: 8-2
State Titles: None
Terran Sharbrough, OT, 12
Justin Gies, OG, 11
Key Players lost from last year:
20 of 22 starters were seniors in 2017
Photo By: Jason Duchow - #79 Terran Sharbrough
Written By: Will Hoenike
The theme for the season in Post Falls can be summed up with the word, “new.”
The Trojans are coming off of an 8-2 season, the best the school has seen since posting the same record in 2004 under then-head coach Jerry Lee. It was a tremendous season that saw the team handle every challenge thrown their way except for its two losses, which came against two of the premier 5A programs in the state in Coeur d’Alene and Rocky Mountain of Meridian. They were losses that stung in the moment but, in time, all can look back and appreciate what a fine season Post Falls had.
Now, the aftermath. Third-year head coach Blaine Bennett and his staff have been tasked with replacing 20 – twenty – of the 22 starters off of last season’s team, which is an arduous task for any staff. But it’s also one that has Coach Bennett excited as kickoff draws near.
“(We have) exciting competition for all starting positions,” Bennett said. “Only two returning starters from last year.”
Those two form the left side of the team’s offensive line. Left tackle Terran Sharbrough, a senior, and left guard Justin Gies, a junior, return. Bennett likes to play fast, with tempo, and having Sharbrough, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and nearly 300 pounds, and Gies leading the way will help ease the transition for the new starters.
Eyes tend to drift to the quarterback position. Nate Buer graduated after a successful career as the trigger man for the Trojans. Junior Derek Pease and sophomore Alex Horning each got a few snaps at the varsity level last season, so they figure to be in the mix for playing time.
Two other key losses from last fall’s Trojan team were starting running backs Quin Bennett and Braden Vaughan. The duo each earned All-Inland Empire League honors and led a powerful ground attack. The two combined for 319 yards on 58 carries in the team’s season-ending playoff loss to Rocky Mountain and they also led the way on a 260-yard day for the ground game in a win over Lakeland. Replacing that level of production will not be easy.
But, again, with a strong offensive line leading the way, perhaps a player like Tyler Maddox can step right in and keep the train moving. Kyle Young, who doubles as one of the team’s safeties on defense, and Carson LeMastus could also be key contributors on offense for the Trojans.
Seniors Chad Buell (linebacker) and Jake Mamola (defensive end) could also see significant roles when the Trojans are on defense and Bennett likes the potential of those position groups. The Post Falls defense held six of its first eight opponents under 15 points before running into the high-powered offenses of Coeur d’Alene and Rocky Mountain at the end of the season.
Post Falls will open the campaign against 4A Sandpoint for the fifth consecutive season and has won three of the previous four openers over the Bulldogs. An early win over a good 4A opponent would be a big boost for Post Falls as they go through a non-conference schedule that includes three Washington foes and 4A Lakeland before getting to the IEL portion of the schedule on October 5 at Lake City.
At that point, the team will have five games under its collective belt. The “new” team won’t be so new anymore. Then, the team closes with two straight league games at home against Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene. It won’t be easy, but the Trojans’ fate is squarely in their own hands. They can make a run, they can compete for a playoff spot. Bennett is likely more excited than most to see if his team can rise to the challenge.