Photo By Willy Harris - #21 Colbey Nosworthy
Written By: Will Hoenike
Since 2009, Shawn Amos and the Coeur d’Alene Vikings have won 86 football games.
An average of nearly nine per season with only one season in that span where the Vikings won fewer than seven games. A winning percentage over those ten seasons of almost .770 despite regularly playing among the toughest non-conference schedules in the state. State championships in 2010, 2011, and 2013. Other title-game trips (2012, 2017) that add up to five championship-game appearances in ten years.
In a sport where virtually every program ebbs and flows as classes of student-athletes come and go, Coeur d’Alene has been on as good of a run as any high school in the Pacific Northwest over the past decade.
Don’t bet on this fall being the season where the pendulum swings the other way on the Vikings.
Sure, Amos and his staff need to replace seven seniors off of last seasons’ team that earned All-State honors … but what’s new? It’s seemingly an annual thing at the corner of 4th and Dalton and the team just keeps churning out good football players and keeps churning out wins.
The Vikings do return one All-State player in senior receiver/defensive back Colbey Nosworthy. He’s one of three returning starters on offense and four on defense, so the cupboard isn’t bare. All-league performers Jake Brown (WR/DB), Jackson Kohal (OL/DL), and Trent Elstad (RB/LB) return as well.
The next wave of Vikings looks to be led by junior quarterback Jack Prka. He’ll have to fill the shoes of Kale Edwards, now a member of the football team at the University of Montana but he isn’t new to the position, having quarterback’d the Viking JV as a sophomore. Continuing in the long-standing tradition of Viking quarterbacks, he’s a dual-threat player who can hurt defenses throwing the ball and running the ball.
Prka will be protected by Kohal, Karter Weibusch, Seth Hagel, Jack Courtney and Dylan Franks. He is surrounded by experienced skill on offense in Nosworthy, Brown, and Elstad but there are a host of newcomers waiting their turn to shine on the outside with Hunter Brett, Luke McLaughlin, Hunter Schueller, Ty Pottenger, Ethan Garitone, and Noah Martinez all listed as receivers. Jack Dohm and Gunnar Giulio will also compete for carries at the running back position.
Defensively, Coeur d’Alene was strong in the regular season, allowing about 18 points per game. The results weren’t as strong in the playoffs, where the Vikings allowed 34 points in a dramatic quarterfinal win over Borah before surrendering 42 in a semifinal loss to eventual state champion Rocky Mountain. But Amos and his staff are confident heading into the 2019 campaign.
“Team speed should be a strength,” Amos noted. “We return quite a few guys with varsity experience.”
Yet again, Amos will lead his team into a buzzsaw of a schedule. After opening the season at home against Rigby of eastern Idaho, the Vikings will play three of the next four away from home, including a road game against Washington powerhouse Gonzaga Prep before traveling to face Idaho power Highland at Holt Arena on September 27.
Coeur d’Alene does get two of its three Inland Empire League games at home and the “road” game is against Lake City, which is about five minutes away.
“We were fortunate to get three teams from our league to the playoffs last year,” Amos said. “Post Falls is well coached and returns some excellent football players. Our goal is to use the early portion of our schedule to be battle-tested for league.”
Amos referenced the Trojans – those two teams will meet in the final week of the regular season at CHS. It could easily be a de facto IEL championship game, though both Lake City and Lewiston will have a say in things before that game occurs on October 25.