Sports

Mercer Island falls to Coeur d'Alene | Prep football

Mercer Island sophomore Jack Counihan scores the Islanders first touchdown during the team
Mercer Island sophomore Jack Counihan scores the Islanders first touchdown during the team's game against Coeur d'Alene on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Islanders lost 39-21.
— image credit: Carrie Bell/Contributed photo

By Melodie Madison

Special to the Reporter

On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Mercer Island football team took on defending Idaho 5A state champions, the Coeur d’Alene Vikings.

It was the first time in Islander football history that the team traveled out of state for a game.

Starting on defense, the Islanders immediately forced a turnover, giving the Islanders a first shot on offense well within Viking territory. The first quarter was filled with grind-it-out defense, entering the second with a score of 3-0 in favor of the Vikings.

During the second quarter, Coeur d’Alene scored two touchdowns, and the Islanders managed to get on the board with a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Brian Higgins to receiver Jack Counihan. Erik Pederson’s kick was good, and the score at the half was 17-7 in favor of the Vikings.

The third quarter brought some of the more interesting calls as downs seemed to disappear. CDA kicked another field goal, making it 20-7 with less than five minutes to go in the quarter.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Islanders found rhythm, edging closer to the red zone. Higgins made a pass to senior Zach Bucklin for the second touchdown of the day. Peterson’s kick was good, after a penalty due to a mouthpiece being out, a re-kick later, and the Islanders closed the gap to 20-14.

On the very next possession, CDA wasn’t getting anywhere, thanks in part to the Islander defense partially blocking the kick. A couple of plays later, including a six-yard run by Risley Lesko and a huge 30-yard catch by Bucklin, the Islanders were on the two-yard line. Higgins ran through and it was in, giving the Islanders the lead, 21-20, with eight minutes left to play.

As fast as they earned the top spot, the Vikings answered. Turnovers by the Islander offense, and a defense that was clearly exhausted, led quickly into a route with Coeur d’Alene ultimately winning 39-21.

During the game, Higgins broke former quarterback Jeff Lindquist’s record of 31 completed passes in a game. Higgins had 33 during the game against the Vikings. Higgins threw for 289 yards during the game, rushing for 10 yards during the game. Risley Lesko ran for 43 yards during the loss, while Peter Mahony had 28 yards. As a team, Coeur d’Alene passed for 372 yards and rushed for 81.

The Islanders will travel to Lake Washington on Friday evening for the first KingCo conference game of the season. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Lake Washington High School.

 

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