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Friday, Sept. 29
Prairie 38, Kamiah 12
Lapwai 54, Clearwater Valley 18
Salmon River 52, Cascade 0
Saturday, Sept. 30
Grangeville at St. Maries
Girls at noon
Boys at 2 p.m.
September is the time for football optimism. There will still be four weeks left in the 1AD1 regular season after Genesee plays Wallace tomorrow, and the Whitepine League lead will remain reachable for any team that might run the table. But as the only 1AD1 team to beat Prairie thus far, none looks more likely to run the table than Genesee. Yet there is still time for optimism -- even at the bottom of the league, where winless Troy is set to host winless Potlatch. The mid-level standings are sure to shift again tonight. It's homecoming in Cottonwood, where a win will greatly improve one WPL team's playoff chances and a loss will drop either the Pirates or the Kubs out of their present tie for fourth place. Clearwater Valley's game against Lapwai could lock CV and others out of the top spot: a Wildcats win would put Lapwai essentially four games ahead of the Rams, who will have, win or lose, just three league games left to play. But a Rams win would sink Lapwai into a tie for second place -- and would kindle playoff hopes for the teams lower on the ladder.
WHERE WE'LL BE
COTTONWOOD - Prairie and Kamiah are both coming off of big wins last week, and with both teams at 1-1, the standings will shuffle again tonight.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
In Cascade, Salmon River kicked off early against Cascade -- a team the Savages have thrashed in recent years, having won a close game (28-25) in 2014.
In Kooskia, Clearwater Valley will host Lapwai -- a team the Rams haven't beaten since 2013.
Second half surge propels Pirates past Kamiah
COTTONWOOD - The opening kickoff turned the early game into nervous moments for Prairie, but the Pirates eventually prevailed 38-12 on homecoming night, Sept. 29.
"We did a good job of mixing run and pass offensively," Pirates head coach Ryan Hasselstrom said. "Defensively, stopping their run game was huge. We knew if we could make them have to throw, we'd have a good chance of beating them. Kaleb (Oatman) made it hard on us the first half -- he kept moving in the pocket and we had a lot of good clean shots at him and just missed him. Then he'd find guys down field. Second half, we tightened up defensively."
Prairie was set to receive the opening kick with a strong breeze at their backs -- apparently too set, because when the wind whipped the first bounce back toward the Kamiah line, the Kubs got to it first. With the bounce in their favor and a bounce in their step, the Kubs ran in a 14-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead early.
That was just the first time KHS quarterback Kaleb Oatman proved a tough guy to tackle. After the Pirates leveled the score at 6-6 on an Owen Anderson run, Oatman converted a third down in improbable fashion. With a couple of Pirates all over him in the backfield, Oatman broke away from their grasp and threw deep to Cristian Lopez, setting up Oatman's second touchdown run of the night.
"We did a lot of things well that first half," Kubs head coach Nels Kludt said. "We blocked well and ran the ball well, but we also had some penalties and left some points out there. We should have had a couple of touchdowns. And they played better than we did in the third quarter, on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They had our number, and we had to play a lot of defense that quarter, and we're not really built to come back from behind."
The Pirates pulled ahead on a couple of strong plays by Damian Forsmann, who finished off the tying drive with a one-yard run, which was set up by Jake Stubbers' fourth down conversion run. Prairie's defense forced a punt, and Oatman dropped a near-interception during a series which ended in a PHS punt. The Pirates got the ball back with four minutes left in the first half when Spencer Schumacher recovered a fumble. Then Forsmann found Hunter Chaffee for a 35-yard score.
That was all the more the Pirates offense had to produce, as the PHS defense kept Kamiah in check the rest of the way. Stubbers, Anderson and Chaffee each scored another touchdown during the third quarter.
Lapwai overpowers CV
KOOSKIA - A 54-18 Wildcats win strengthened Lapwai's grip on one of the Whitepine League's top spots, and the loss keeps the Rams in sixth place.
Salmon River shuts out Cascade
CASCADE - Salmon River had no trouble during a 52-0 win over Long Pin Conference foe Cascade Friday afternoon, Sept. 30.