Post Falls junior Ethan Lawson scored a go-ahead penalty kick in the 75th minute, putting an end to a chippy game that pitted a physical Trojans back line against a quicker, younger Sandpoint team.
Yet for all the Trojans’ experiential advantages, the Bulldogs responded after falling behind 1-0 by Evan Darling’s 57th minute equalizer and nearly broke through by ramping up their attack in the second half.
“They’re beginning to see that they can play against bigger teams, regardless of classification,” Sandpoint head coach Tanner French said. “Those [Post Falls] boys were simply bigger. For them to figure it out was a good sign in this game.”
Post Falls flexed its muscles early. Senior Ethan Lawson knifed through Sandpoint’s defense to find Logan Kollar on the right side, sending the Bulldogs on their collective heels in the second minute.
But once Sandpoint figured out how to break through Post Falls’ disjointed midfield — which had plagued the Trojans’ offense all game — the Bulldogs found several opportunities to score.
Tensions rose in the second half as the Bulldogs ramped up their attack. Sandpoint then got on the board in the 57th minute as Sims Macdonald’s free kick nearly connected with Parker Reed’s header attempt in the box, but Darling was ready on the far post to clean up the miss.
“The ball just comes right to his foot and he slots it in,” French said, citing Darling’s goal in a similar situation against Lewiston earlier this season. “A goal is a goal no matter what. He seems to be in the right spot at the right time.”
The tide turned in Sandpoint’s favor. Sandpoint’s resurgence on offense led to plenty of scoring chances, yet its passes didn’t connect.
In one of Post Falls’ few offensive plays in the second half, Lawson drew a foul in the box on the break in the 75th minute. His scored the ensuing penalty kick from the right side.
Sandpoint plays at Lake City on Sept. 5 at 4 p.m.
First half — 1, Post Falls, Logan Kollar (Ethan Lawson), 2:00. Second half — 2, Sandpoint, Evan Darling (unassisted), 57:00. 3, Post Falls, Lawson (penalty kick), 75:00.
Shots on goal — Post Falls 9, Sandpoint 10.
Saves — PF, Kael McGowan, Joshua Nielsen, 3. SHS, Roman Jiles, 3.