GRIDIRON GUESSES: Time to lock up some playoff berths

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Post Falls is now just one week away from a 5A Inland Empire League football showdown at Coeur d’Alene that has been highly anticipated for more than a month.

One final stepping stone before that — Friday at Lewiston.

A Post Falls win, coupled with a Coeur d’Alene victory at Lake City, would clinch playoff spots for both teams, and next week’s winner would earn a first-round bye into the state playoffs.

As far as the weekly picks, I correctly picked Lakeland to win and Jason, the young phenom game picker, had Moscow. Other than that, our picks were all the same — for better or for worse.

I went 7-3 last week and am 48-18 on the season. Jason was 6-4 and stands at 46-20.

HIGH SCHOOL

FRIDAY

All games scheduled for 7 p.m.

Coeur d’Alene (5-2) at Lake City (2-4)

NELKE: Lake City had the right idea last week, trying to slow the tempo against Post Falls. But scoring 14 points didn’t cut it last week, and certainly won’t this week.

Coeur d’Alene, 49-14

ELLIOTT: Coeur d’Alene cleans up its miscues from last week and gears up for the third one next week.

Coeur d’Alene, 58-14

Post Falls (7-0) at Lewiston (4-3)

NELKE: The Trojans have slipped up in Lewiston before, losing when a win would have put them in the playoffs. Don’t see that happening on Friday, even though it’s tough to win in Lewiston under any circumstances.

Post Falls, 42-20

ELLIOTT: If the Trojans can get through that roadblock created by the opening of Popeyes Chicken in Post Falls, they’ll get through the Bengals.

Post Falls, 38-18

Lakeland (3-4) at Sandpoint (1-6)

NELKE: Lakeland can wrap up the 4A Inland Empire League title and a first-round bye in the state playoffs.

Lakeland, 32-18

ELLIOTT: Tim Kiefer told me he felt he had a good team two weeks ago after beating Timberlake at home, but they had to stay out of their own way. They did that pretty well last week against Moscow.

Lakeland, 28-20

Timberlake (0-6) at Bonners Ferry (2-5)

NELKE: Timberlake has to break into the win column one of these weeks, right?

Timberlake, 26-22

ELLIOTT: A tough season for the Tigers gets a little tougher.

Bonners Ferry, 28-24

Lakeside (3-2) at Timberline (0-6)

NELKE: Coming off a bye, the Knights look for their third straight win.

Lakeside, 48-12

ELLIOTT: Lakeside comes off a bye week with a big win in Weippe.

Lakeside, 44-16

Deary (6-0) at Kootenai (2-3)

NELKE: Kootenai had a rough one last week at Kendrick, losing 88-6. And Deary is even better.

Deary, 60-12

ELLIOTT: Umm ....

Deary, 66-12

COLLEGE

Washington State (6-0) at California (3-3)

Friday, 7:30 p.m.

NELKE: The Cougar defense tries to solve a Bear attack led by offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, who as head coach at Eastern Washington led the Eagles to an upset over WSU in Pullman last year. With a head coaching opening at Oregon State, you wonder if this is the only time Baldwin will face the Cougs as a coordinator.

WSU, 49-13

ELLIOTT: Great teams don’t lose games on the road on a short week. Now the question is, are the Cougars a great team?

WSU, 38-35

Appalachian State (3-2) at Idaho (2-3)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

NELKE: After letting Louisiana-Lafayette get out of Moscow with a victory last week, the Vandals really need a win at home this week. Trouble is, App State is better than Lafayette.

Appalachian State, 26-21

ELLIOTT: The Vandals really need to win this game heading into next week at Missouri.

Appalachian State, 38-28

Boise State (3-2) at San Diego State (6-0)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

NELKE: This is a statement game for San Diego State, which is among the Mountain West teams tired of hearing the conference consists of Boise State and then everybody else. Boise State has played a plenty of big games over the years, but doesn’t have a statement win this year.

San Diego State, 34-28

ELLIOTT: We always hear about those Pac-12 After Dark games on Saturday nights ... Welcome to Mountain West After Dark, where the Broncos score an upset, maybe?

BSU, 31-28

Montana State (2-3) at Eastern Washington (4-2)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

NELKE: Montana State is getting better in its second season under Jeff Choate, the former Post Falls High football coach and athletic director. But the Bobcats’ passing is still, shall we say, a work in progress. And Eastern, after struggling the first two weeks, seems to be hitting its offensive stride.

EWU, 49-13

ELLIOTT: Montana State looked pretty good against Portland State last Saturday in Bozeman. This isn’t Portland State, and they’re not in Bozeman.

EWU, 35-17

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