High School Football

Eagle football wins epic playoff battle with Coeur d’Alene

It’s 10 wins down, two to go for the Eagle High football team.

The Mustangs kept their bid for an undefeated season and 5A state championship alive Friday, winning a state playoff shootout at Thunder Stadium. Senior tailback Jonas Loyens racked up 246 rushing yards, and quarterback Slayter Jeffries added 148 yards and four touchdowns as the Mustangs outgunned and outlasted Coeur d’Alene 48-39.

Eagle (10-0) advances to the 5A semifinals, where it will host Mountain View (9-2).

“Every series is 100 percent,” said Loyens, who carried 22 times, including a 53-yard touchdown. “We are trying to score on every drive, and we’re going to keep pounding that ball and do whatever it takes to get to the end zone.”

Devan Bridgewater threw scoring passes to Cole Christensen and Kaden Snooks for Eagle, which overcame a monster effort by Coeur d’Alene quarterback Cole Yankoff. The junior Oregon commit threw for 405 yards and a score while adding 111 yards and five TDs on the ground.

“My, oh my, their quarterback put on a show,” Eagle coach Paul Peterson said.

But in a game filled with eye-popping offensive stats, it was defense and special teams that provided the winning margin. Eagle recovered two fumbles — including one inside its own 10-yard line with less than 3 minutes remaining — and the Mustangs blocked two extra points, which made it a two-possession game down the stretch.

“That’s why we work so hard to prepare and try to find that one little thing that might make a difference in games like these,” Peterson said. “The blocked extra points changed the strategy of the game.”

Coeur d’Alene opened with a surgical drive, using its no-huddle, pass-heavy attack to knock Eagle on its heels. Yankoff finished with a 1-yard leap over the pile for a 7-0 lead.

But the Mustangs roared back with 28 unanswered points. Jeffries had three 1-yard TD runs, and Bridgewater found Christensen on a 22-yard strike as Eagle looked poised to run away with it. But Yankoff and the Vikings wouldn’t go quietly. The speedy QB scored on two short runs in the final 1:57 of the half to cut the deficit to 28-19 at the break.

“It was a back-and-forth battle,” Coeur d’Alene coach Shawn Amos said. “I’m proud of our kids and the way they kept fighting back. Eagle is a heck of a football team.”

The track meet continued after halftime, with Coeur d’Alene cashing in an early fumble to trim the lead to 28-26 on another Yankoff run.

Loyens busted through the line for his long TD on the next drive to make it 34-26. And after a Vikings punt, Bridgewater fired a 48-yard bomb to Snooks to make it 41-26.

Once again, Yankoff kept Coeur d’Alene alive, finding Brady Lundblad (six catches, 133 yards) on fourth down for a 26-yard score. Jeffries and Yankoff then traded scoring runs, but Eagle’s second blocked PAT kept the margin at 48-39 after Yankoff’s fifth TD run of the night.

Coeur d’Alene was driving late, but the Vikings lost a fumble while fighting for yardage near Eagle’s goal line.

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