Post Falls’ mistakes came rapid fire and the Trojans paid dearly for each one.
The fifth-ranked Trojans committed four turnovers on their first five possessions and visiting Rocky Mountain capitalized on every miscue with touchdowns en route to a 63-34 5A state playoff victory Friday.
“What a slow start offensively,” Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said. “We really got behind the 8-ball with turnovers and pretty soon we’re down 28 points and you’re really trying to catch up.”
The Trojans did some catching up behind a potent rushing attack, pulling with 21 points on a couple of occasions, but the early deficit proved to be too much.
Post Falls (8-2) lost a fumble and tossed three interceptions while digging a 28-0 hole just seconds into the second quarter. Rocky Mountain produced big play after big play, scoring on quarterback Kyle Van Tonder’s 18-yard keeper, Zach Irwin’s 36-yard run, Carter Kuehl’s 34-yard dash and John T’ia’s 60-yard interception return.
Post Falls trimmed the deficit to 35-14 by halftime on the first of Braden Vaughan’s three touchdown runs and Nate Buer’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Jake Pfennigs.
The Trojans rolled up 404 rushing yards, led by Quin Bennett’s 177 and Vaughan’s 166, but didn’t have much success through the air.
The third-ranked Grizzlies (8-2) were even better on the ground with 450 yards. They only completed two passes but were never forced to punt.
The fleet-footed Van Tonder, Kuehl and Irwin found huge holes while fullback Nick Romano gained steady yards up the middle before breaking loose for a 49-yarder that capped the scoring.
“They’re quick, they’re good,” Bennett said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t play a little better early in the game. We were offsides, the turnovers – just not the kind of football we’ve played this year.”
It was a rough send-off for 32 seniors, but the Trojans will look back favorably on a season that saw them win their first eight games and host a playoff game.
“Phenomenal group of seniors and an amazing year,” Bennett said. “The kids stayed focused and finished the game and played through even though the score got a little lopsided.”
Van Tonder rushed for 151 yards on 14 attempts and Kuehl added 119 on nine carries.
Rocky Mountain advances to face Eagle next Friday.
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