Getting down to crunch time

Oct. 6—With only three high school football games left in Idaho and four in Washington, it's getting to be crunch time.

Teams in the Whitepine League Division I will play another game that will clear up the league race, starting at 6 p.m. today as Clearwater Valley travels to Potlatch.

Shadle Park travels to Pullman, with the winner taking over sole possession of first place in the Class 2A Greater Spokane League at 6 p.m. today.

At 7 p.m. Friday, fifth-ranked Lewiston continue its charge toward the playoffs with their first Class 5A Inland Empire League contest at Post Falls.

Finally, Kendrick's game against Timberline was canceled because of academic issues with the Weippe school, so the Tigers will face a formidable opponent in Liberty Bell, of Winthrop, Wash., at 7 p.m. Friday.

Clearwater Valley at Potlatch

Every week seems to be a bloodbath inside the Whitepine League Division I.

Every team seems enter the gulag and has to battle to remain in contention for a playoff spot. This week, the Rams and the Loggers will try to emerge unscathed.

"This has been a competitve league for years, (but) it's just been hard to tell with Prairie's streak of dominance," Potlatch coach Ryan Ball said. "It's nice that everyone is coming around now and figuring out how competitive this league actually is."

Clearwater Valley (4-2, 3-1) and Potlatch (4-1, 3-1) are tied for second place in the WPL, just behind Kamiah (5-1, 4-0). The Loggers fell 56-52 to Prairie on Sept. 9, and the Rams lost 34-22 to Kamiah on Sept. 23.

Potlatch lost a pair of players after last week's 46-38 win at Logos, which now will force quarterback Jack Clark to take complete control of the offense. He showed his ability to carry the Loggers against the Knights; he finished with 26 carries for 242 yards along with four touchdowns.

"He's going to make some plays, but we have to use everyone that we have left," Ball said. "(Clearwater Valley) is going to want to turn this into a fight between the hashes, so we have to be physical with everyone."

Shadle Park at Pullman

The Greyhounds fell 44-2 in their Sept. 2 season opener against Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls. Since, Pullman (3-1, 2-0) has strung together three straight wins, outscoring opponents 111-39 with junior quarterback Caleb Northcroft improving every game.

In Pullman's 42-27 decision Sept. 23 at Rogers, he completed 74 percent of his passes for 220 yards and two scores.

"He's done a great job managing the offense," Pullman coach David Cofer said. "That's what we look for in our quarterback. He's also a student of the game and has been watching tape like crazy. He's done everything that we've asked him to do."

Northcroft's favorite target has been Tanner Barbour. Against Rogers, he had 12 receptions for 115 yards. Barbour also shined on defense, picking off two passes, and he's return two kicks for scores this season.

"We always look to get him the ball early and often," Cofer said. "He does a lot of us in all three phases."

The Highlanders (4-1, 3-0) had a similar route, losing their season opener before winning their next four games.

"They have some weapons on offense," Cofer said. "We have to make sure that we limit their explosive plays. That's how they make their living on offense."

Lewiston at Post Falls

The Bengals (5-1) finally earned a spot in the Idaho state media poll at No. 5, but if Lewiston doesn't win at least two Class 5A Inland Empire League games, it'll all be for naught.

The Bengals have to go to Post Falls (4-2) and last year, this game came down to the wire, with Lewiston coming out on top 30-29.

It was sixth-year coach Matt Pancheri's first win against the Trojans, and it was won in the trenches. This year will be the same, according to Pancheri.

"The trenches will be the story of the game right," he said. "We like to hang our hat on our front six, and I think Post Falls has a very competitive offensive line."

Liberty Bell at Kendrick

Kendrick (5-0) has had an odd season to say the least. It's winning games, and by a large margin, outscoring its past three opponents 258-6.

But in that stretch, the Tigers' opponents have been without some of their top players. Lewis County played without standout quarterback Ty Hambly; Genesee's quarterback, Angus Jordan, was out, and this week Timberline was forced to forfeit because of eligibility issues.

"It's been weird how everything has played out," Kendrick coach Zane Hobart said. "We don't ever want to see teams go without their best players. We always want teams at their best."

This week's opponent, the Mountain Lions, will give the Tigers their best.

Liberty Bell (5-1) has been as dominant this season, outscoring its past three opponents 154-12.

"They have some serious athletes," Hobart said. "Everyone in their backfield can make a play. It'll be a fun game for us."

Pixley may be contacted at (208) 848-2290, or on Twitter @TreebTalks.