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Sloan back after summer scare

The wait is just about over. Washington high school football teams are fine-tuning for this weekend's opening games, beginning Thursday when defending Greater Spokane League champion and state semifinalist Ferris faces North Central at Albi Stadium, 6:30 p.m. It is precursor to Friday night's huge showdown game between Mt. Spokane and Mead at 8.

One bit of good news at Central Valley, which hosts Rogers Friday at 7, is that Rick Sloan is back helping handle the offense. He was diagnosed with a pre-rheumatoid arthritic condition and took the summer off from coaching Bears basketball.

Other games Friday: Lewis and Clark at Lake City (non-league), East Valley at Gonzaga Prep, both 7 and Shadle Park-University, 5:30, Albi. We'll see early how accurate my predicted order of finish in tomorrow's S-R might be.

"I had sore feet and couldn't walk in the morning," Sloan said last week at football practice. "I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally I went to a doctor who said, 'you're an athlete, you've got arthritis."

Sloan questioned the diagnosis, because the pain would travel to different parts of his body. It was discovered that he had an auto-immune disorder and an anti-body was attacking and fatiguing his system.

"I did a little bit of camp, but my assistants did everything else," he said of the summer basketball regimen. "Thank goodness I have such a good staff."

He's hopeful it's been caught early and medicine seems to have gotten a handle on it.The achy feet are gone and he's been able to throw a football during practice.

"It kind of helps you put life into perspective," said Sloan. "The thought of retiring and not being able to walk was unnerving."

The Saxon-Indian game makes for a stern debut of NC coach Brian Gardner.

"Anytime you play Ferris it's going to be a tough ball game. Obviously they have it going there," Gardner said. "It'll be a good test right out of the chute just to see where we're at."

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