One little seven-team league produced last year’s top-ranked B-8 team and another team that finished No. 1 on the field.
The Southeast B-8 is now a six-team league, but every bit as potent.
Defending State B-8 champion Touchet (10-1) graduated few players from the group that beat Pateros 38-24 in last year’s Kingbowl.
Touchet’s lone loss came against league rival LaCrosse-Washtucna, which entered postseason ranked on top but lost to Pateros 36-30 in the quarterfinals.
Touchet and L-W should slug it out again for league superiority. They have one less league rival to fret about because Waitsburg’s increased enrollment sent it to the SEB-11.
Despite the loss of one team, the SEB-8 picked up one state playoff spot while the Northeast B-8 shrunk from four to three postseason bids. St. John-Endicott, with an improved turnout, is a favorite for the No. 3 spot to state.
Come the end of league season, the standings should look like this: Touchet, L-W, SJE, Rosalia, Colton, Prescott.
1994 record: 6-0, 8-1; first
Coach: Jeff Nelson
Years coaching: Second
Coach’s record: 8-1
Top returners: Joe Kinch, 6-0, 185, sr., RB/DB; Shawn Larkin, 6-2, 255, sr., OT/DG; Casey Rouleau, 6-2, 175, jr., R/LB; Clint Anderson, 5-9, 165, jr., RB/ DB; Jeremy Daniel, 6-2, 160, jr., QB/S; Clint Ledbetter, 6-2, 180, jr., R/LB
Top newcomers: Tom Stine, 5-10, 185, sr., OG/DT; Greg Whitman, 6-2, 185, fr., R/DE.
Quick kicks: Kinch, the team’s top college prospect, rushed for 1,015 yards last year.
Coach’s comment: “I don’t think we’ll miss a beat. … Injuries can devastate us, just like any other eight-man team.”
Outlook: With Daniel at the helm, the Tigercats should finish no lower than second. First place wouldn’t shock anyone (except, maybe, Touchet).
St. John-Endicott Eagles
1994 record: 2-4, 3-6; fifth
Coach: Dick Behrens
Years coaching: Fourth
Coach’s record: 9-17
Top returners: Zach Hergert, 5-9, 170, sr., RB/LB; Joe Gering, 6-3, 190, sr., RB/DE; Brandon Phillips, 6-0, 220, sr., G; Conor Kleweno, 5-10, 160, sr., R/DB; Ryan Schauble, 5-11, 160, sr., R/DB; Chris Larson, 6-0, 205, jr., FB/DG; John Hergert, 6-5, 250, jr., C/G.
Top newcomers: Kale Colyar, 5-9, 150, jr., R/S; Josh Siler, 6-0, 165, soph., QB; Ryan Stolmeier, 6-2, 170, soph., R/DE; Andrew Kolb, 5-10, 160, soph., RB/LB; John Pool, 5-10, 205, jr., C.
Quick kicks: The Eagles blew a chance for .500 last year with an overtime loss to Waitsburg.
Coach’s comment: “I think (a playoff spot) is definitely an attainable goal for us. The last couple of years we’ve had trouble with close games.”
Outlook: Good size and speed, and an increased turnout of 13 should help SJE snare a playoff berth.
1994 record: 4-2, 6-2; tied for third
Coach: Jim Hereford
Years coaching: Third
Coach’s record: 9-7
Top returners: Brian Maley, 6-1, 190, sr., RB/LB; Tysen Blank, 6-1, 195, jr., QB/DE; David Finley, 5-10, 160, sr., RB/DB; John Cowger, 5-10, 160, sr., OG/LB.
Top newcomers: Bill Lathrop, 5-11, 180, soph., G; Andy Van Grimbergen, 5-9, 150, jr., R/DB
Quick kicks: Maley, a 4.0 student who gained 1,500 yards last year, has added 15 pounds.
Coach’s comment: “We have an experienced backfield with a young line. Maley was a quarterback as a freshman and Finley was a running back as a freshman.”
Outlook: The Spartans would have made the playoffs last year had the league had three playoff spots. This year there are three, but young Rosalia may not match ‘94.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SEB-8 SCHEDULE Sept. 8 Odessa at Touchet, 3 p.m. LaCrosse-Washtucna at Lind, 4 p.m. Cusick at Rosalia, 7 pm St. John-Endicott at Inchelium, 7 p.m. Sept. 14 Dayton JV at Prescott, 3 p.m. Colton at Genesee, 7 p.m. Sept. 15 Rosalia at Cusick, 7 p.m. LaCrosse-Washtucna at Odessa, 7:30 p.m. St. John-Endicott at Lind, 3:30 p.m. Sept. 22 LaCrosse-Washtucna at Rosalia, 7 p.m. Odessa at St. John-Endicott, 7 p.m. Lakeside (Plummer, Id.) at Colton, 7 p.m. Sept. 29 Kahlotus at Prescott, 3 p.m. Lyle at Touchet, 3 p.m. Rosalia at St. John-Endicott, 7 p.m. Oct. 6. Prescott at Touchet, 3 p.m. Colton at Rosalia, 7 p.m. St. John-Endicott at LaCrosse-Washtucna, 7 p.m. Oct. 13 Touchet at St. John-Endicott Rosalia at LaCrosse-Washtucna, 3 p.m. Prescott at Colton, 7 p.m. Oct. 20 LaCrosse-Washtucna at Touchet, 3 p.m. Colton at St. John-Endicott, 7 p.m. Rosalia at Prescott, 3 p.m. Oct. 27 St. John-Endicott at Prescott, 3 p.m. LaCrosse-Washtucna at Colton, 7 p.m. Touchet at Rosalia, 7 p.m. Nov. 3 Colton at Touchet, 2 p.m. Prescott at LaCrosse-Washtucna, 7 p.m. St. John-Endicott at Rosalia, 7 p.m.