The word “juggernaut” acquired its modern meaning during the late 19th Century, right about the time Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of the evil Mr. Hyde trampling a child “like some damned Juggernaut” in the streets of 1886 London. It used to refer to a cart that crushed onlookers as it carried Hindu idols from town to town.
The word made too strong a metaphor in the minds of too many top-tier English writers to fade into oblivion, so the older meaning gave way, and soon all things that ran over the smaller things in their paths — even figuratively — came to be called juggernauts.
In light of their scores through six games — all blowouts by 30 to 60 points — it’s easy to call this Prairie team a juggernaut.
Maybe too easy.
The late 19th Century had a word for the things that destroy the other things with long-range salvos: before battleships were called battleships, they were dreadnoughts.
Since Prairie shelled Troy 74-12 last Friday night, Oct. 12, on the strength of Jake Bruner’s cannon arm, maybe PHS is more of a dreadnought.
Then again, even on the nights PHS has fired away most freely, coach Ryan Hasselstrom’s team has maintained a run-pass balance near 50-50.
If ever there was a juggernaught, Prairie is it.
But a less nautical word from the early 20th Century may better sum up the mismatch these Pirates have presented every team they’ve played so far: PHS is most like a landship, a tank, a well-oiled crusher fitted with artillery for striking any stout overland defense from afar.
Juggernaut, dreadnought, landship or what-not, only two regular season roadblocks remain.
Prairie (6-0, 4-0 Whitepine League) is set to host Potlatch this Friday night, Oct. 16.
Meanwhile, Kamiah (6-0, 4-0 WPL) — a tank of similar quality, if of a different type — also holds a perfect record in the Whitepine League as well as the overall standings. The Kubs are set to visit Genesee this Friday night, Oct. 16.
Robert Louis Stevenson might have never wondered what happens when one juggernaut runs into another, but if both Kamiah and Prairie continue as they have so far, anyone who wants to find out will be able to see it for themselves when the Whitepine League’s co-leaders collide on the regular season’s last night, Oct. 23.
Prairie 74, Troy 12
TROY — Homefield advantage and a homecoming crowd made a difference for the Trojans, who surged out to score the first touchdown last Friday night, Oct. 23, and thereby forced Prairie to play from behind for the first time all season.
The Trojans’ surge waned quickly as the first quarter went on. Prairie tied it on a touchdown pass, 52 yards from Jake Bruner to Isaiah Shears, and PHS took the lead, 8-6, on Calvin Hinkelman’s conversion run.
“It started out a bit rough but it turned out all right,” Hasselstrom said. “It was good for our guys to have to battle.”
The Pirates followed up with Brandon Anderson’s touchdown run, three yards, with five minutes left in the quarter. Bruner threw to Shears for the conversion.
Troy answered with a short run for a score with two minutes to go in the first, but the Trojans’ conversion pass failed and Prairie struck again less than a minute later. Lucas Wemhoff ran it in from 22 yards out, and ran in the conversion 1:03 before the teams switched ends.
The second quarter saw Bruner throw for three touchdowns and run for another, with a pair of passes to Shears (33 yards and five yards), bracketing Bruner’s eight-yard run.
Bruner also hit Hinkelman twice: with a 43-yarder 35 seconds before halftime, and with a 26-yarder a bit more than five minutes into the third quarter.
“We didn’t get to run a lot of plays,” Hasselstrom said. “When we were going, it was good. ... With the exception of our first drive, when we dropped a pass and sputtered out, our plays went big. We ran 34 total plays, and 11 of those were JV plays.”
Troy dressed only 12 players for the game — a startling loss of strength in numbers for a program that had consistently turned out one of the Whitepine League’s strongest groups.
“One of their main running backs was out,” Hasselstrom noted. “They played hard for a quarter-and-a-half, but they ran out of gas.”
Bruner completed 13 of 17 pass attempts (76 percent) for 274 yards and five touchdowns without an interception — an effort Hasselstrom called “an efficient night.”
“He was pretty effective,” Hasselstrom said. “We had a couple of dropped balls and a couple of overthrown balls — and good balance. We had, receiving-wise and rushing-wise, a lot of guys involved.”
As the Pirates prepare for this week’s opponent, Hasselstrom said it’s “hard not to look ahead — it’s all anybody is talking about. But we’ll prepare for Potlatch like we do everyone else.”
Potlatch 6, Clearwater Valley 0
POTLATCH — For the Rams a narrow loss last Friday night, Oct. 9, came down to one play.
It happened to be the last play. According to the Lewiston Tribune, Potlatch quarterback Cole Thompson threw the game-winner to Zack Sheffler at the end of the contest. The nine-yard strike came after a final-minute fumble by the Rams.
Up next, Clearwater Valley (1-5, 0-4 Whitepine League) will close out its season with a road trip to Lapwai this Friday night, Oct. 16, followed by its final home game, Oct. 23, against Troy.