Jacks perfect starting state race

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St. Maries football’s undefeated 8-0 record resets Saturday.

The Jacks open the state playoffs on a mission to add four wins to their unbeaten streak.

After finishing the first undefeated season for St. Maries since 1995, the team now looks ahead to its first-round playoff with optimism.

Adding weight to the Jacks post-season are the teams’ 15 seniors, now in their final run at a championship.

“I want to still look at it one game at a time,” senior quarterback Kiefer Gibson said, “but it’s the last couple games that all of us will ever play in high school, so you have that do-or-die attitude. You have to leave it all out on the field.”

The boys open with District Three’s third-place team Melba (5-3). Home field belongs to St. Maries (8-0) Saturday as the Jacks will, for the second consecutive season, open the playoffs at home. The team hosted New Plymouth to kick off last season’s playoffs, dominating in a 35-0 win.

They will try for similar results this weekend.

“We’re going to treat this just like any other game,” Coach Craig Tefft said. “The playoffs are kind of a reset. Everybody is 0-0.”

With a win, the Jacks will face the winner of North Fremont (5-3) and Wendell (0-8). Game location will be determined following the completion of the first round.

St. Maries goes into Saturday’s matchup with the top seed from districts one and two after claiming a CIL title Oct. 21. The Lumberjacks took a 34-6 win over Orofino to close the regular season.

Kiefer threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns along with one touchdown rushing in the win, bringing his season total to 1,951 all-purpose yards. Jake Sieler opened scoring for the Jacks with a pair of touchdown catches in the first quarter.

Minutes away from taking a 12-6 lead into the halftime break, Kiefer hit Tyler Lohman on a 53-yard touchdown pass to give St. Maries the 20-6 cushion.

Kiefer would rush behind a dog-pile of offensive lineman in quarter three, earning a one-yard touchdown to extend the Jacks’ lead.

St. Maries quarterback Kiefer Gibson points down field toward Bryant Asbury in second-quarter action against Orofino Oct. 21. The Lumberjacks came away with a 34-6 win.

St. Maries quarterback Kiefer Gibson points down field toward Bryant Asbury in second-quarter action against Orofino Oct. 21. The Lumberjacks came away with a 34-6 win.

Bryant Asbury caught Kiefer’s final touchdown pass on a ten-yard strike in the fourth quarter.

“I think coming off that win, it’s boosted us and we’re feeling good right now,” Bryant, a senior receiver, said.

St. Maries out-gained its opponent with 402 total yards to Orofino’s 79.

“We put up more than 400 yards of offense, so I was extremely pleased considering the field conditions,” Coach Tefft said.

Eight consecutive weeks of preparation now comes to fruition, as the boys look to take four weeks one at a time.

“We really only had one mess up, and that was with Priest River,” senior linebacker Zack Rouse said, referring to St. Maries’ one game this season in which it trailed at halftime. “We overlooked them, and I don’t think we’ll do that again.”

St. Maries and Melba kick off Saturday at 1p.m. from St. Maries. Due to the fact that the game is a playoff, regular-season passes are no longer accepted.

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