Amid the levity at a gathering of this type there was surprising candor about their teams from coaches of four Valley high schools who appeared at a Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast Friday.
Master of ceremonies Bud Nameck joked to chamber members that East Valley and West Valley would be Frontier League co-favorites and that Central Valley and University were expected to tie for the Greater Spokane League championship.
Countered East Valley’s Jim Clements, “I’m not going to con anybody, I’m not smart enough. This is the truth, and the whole truth.”
Clements was the first of the speakers that included WV’s Steve Kent, CV’s Rick Giampietri and University’s Mike Ganey who previewed their seasons.
The bad news is that EV has no experienced linemen, said Clements. The good news is a veteran backfield that includes Frontier League most valuable player Jesse Ewell.
After citing his woes and saying, “I can honestly say 26 kids are capable of having a good year in the Frontier League,” Clements relinquished the podium to the other three.
“I don’t want to take away from anything they’re going to lie about,” he said.
Kent, rarely seen in a tie - “It’s the second time I’ve worn it, but it’s the same tie,” he said - went next.
He admitted that 9 of 11 starters on both sides of the football are back, including a line that averages nearly 230 pounds. Clements feigned an exit.
“I went back to coaching the offensive line, which is probably what I should have been doing,” Kent said, “because they are really good and physical and I can take the credit.”
Ganey chronicled an off-season that included individual awards at the University of Idaho contact camp and a local 7-on-7 league for his backs who impressed other GSL coaches.
“Now we’ve got to put the big boys in front of the quarterback and see how they do,” he said.
Included are tight end Mike Roberg, a Division I prospect, and three-year starter Jeff Hollenback, who will attend the Naval Academy.
Central Valley’s team is loaded with academicians. Four starters have 4.0 grade point averages - including quarterback R.J. Del Mese, center Mike Van Houten, runningback Rick Giampietri Jr. and receiver Ryan Millar - and two others are at 3.9, said Giampietri to the delight of his audience.
CV has a dozen returning starters for 22 positions, 24 returning letter winners and a huge line that includes two players at or near 300 pounds.
“Size doesn’t always make a difference,” said Giampietri. “At the same time it helps to have someone who can push people around.”
CV is among the GSL favorites, something Giampietri accepts.
“The worst thing for us is our schedule,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was so bad until Steve talked.”
The Bears and Eagles will meet during the Valley Jamboree Sept. 1 at CV. Then on successive weeks, CV plays defending GSL champ Lewis and Clark, playoff team Mead and the rival Titans.
“If we’re on top of it we’re in good position,” he said. “If not our backs will be against the wall.”
His fellow coaches might have said the same.
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