On your mark. Get set. Bang.
No, it’s not time for the state track meet. But it could be the next-best thing.
There will be 22 football players on the field Friday when Lewiston visits Sandpoint in a game that could decide the Inland Empire League championship. The outcome could be decided by just lining up two of the fastest athletes in the state at one end of Barlow Stadium and letting them sprint 100 yards.
Sandpoint senior wide receiver and state sprint champion Caleb Bowman has burned streaks in North Idaho fields all season. Lewiston’s Rick McCrery, an all-purpose back, has left defenders in his tracks, too.
Mr. Bowman meet Mr. McCrery. What could make things interesting is they likely will defend each other. Bowman (6-foot-2) is considerably taller than McCrery (5-6).
“Bowman is the best high school wide receiver I’ve seen, and I’ve had some very good ones,” Lewiston coach Nick Menegas said. “Nobody has stopped him yet.”
Bowman has caught 49 passes for 776 yards and 13 touchdowns. Every time he touches the ball he seemingly breaks a school or personal record.
Bowman isn’t Menegas’ lone concern, though. “Sandpoint has a more diverse offense than last year,” Menegas said.
Sandpoint (5-2 overall, 2-0 in league) can clinch no worse than a tie for the league championship. Lewiston (5-1-1, 2-1) could force a three-way tie for the league title.
Lake City upset Lewiston 27-26 two weeks ago. A week earlier, Sandpoint broke a late fourth-quarter tie to beat LC 33-21.
Sandpoint has lost 15 times and tied once (in 1986) against Lewiston in the last 16 seasons. Sandpoint’s last win came in 1980.
The Bulldogs moved from second to first in the state rankings released Wednesday, receiving eight of 11 first-place votes. LC and Lewiston each climbed a spot at second and third.
In another league game, Post Falls (2-4-1, 0-2) is at Coeur d’Alene (1-6, 0-2).
In what could be an entertaining nonleague game, Lake City (6-1) visits Lakeland (5-1-1). Most games in the region begin at 7 p.m.
In a pair of Intermountain League games, Moscow (4-3, 3-0) can clinch a state playoff berth and eliminate visiting St. Maries (5-2, 1-2) while Priest River (6-2, 2-2) is at Bonners Ferry (2-5, 1-2).
Elsewhere, Silver Valley rivals Wallace (3-4) and Kellogg (0-7) tangle at Kellogg. Lakeside (6-1, 6-0) can claim the North Star League championship when it hosts Mullan (0-6, 0-6), while a playoff berth is up for grabs when Kootenai (4-4, 4-3) visits Clark Fork (4-3, 4-2) in the first game under lights at Clark Fork.
State qualifying meets
Speaking of runners taking their marks, they’ll be doing just that when regional and district cross country meets are held Friday afternoon.
But unlike the scenario that could unfold in the Lewiston-Sandpoint football game, the team races will not be necessarily decided by the swiftest runners.
The A-1 Region I meets will be held at Hidden Lakes Country Club, located about 8 miles northeast of Sandpoint on Highway 200. The A-2 District I-II meets will be held at Mirror Lakes Golf Course, just south of Bonners Ferry. Both meets begin at 3.
If all league teams enter full squads in both the A-1 and A-2 meets, the top three boys and girls teams will advance to state. If any race is short a team, just the top two teams go to state.
If a full compliment of runners enter, then the top 12 placers in each race earn trips to state.
The races that could be short a team are the A-1 and A-2 girls. Lewiston and Kellogg have had difficulties fielding full teams.
In the A-1 meets, Lake City’s boys are heavily favored to repeat as regional champs and LC and Coeur d’Alene girls figure to challenge defending champion Sandpoint.
Defending individual champs Charlie Miller of Lake City and Nicole Maloney of Sandpoint, both juniors, are favored to repeat.
In the A-2 meets, the boys team title trophy can be given to Bonners Ferry, the defending champ, before the starting gun is fired. Moscow should prevail in what’s been an otherwise down season among A-1 girls teams.
The state meets will be held Nov. 1 at Clear Lakes Golf Course in Buhl. Pairings for all state-qualifying volleyball and soccer tournaments can be found in the Stat Sheet.
North Idaho swim teams compete in the district meet Saturday at the University of Idaho in Moscow. It’s the last opportunity to meet state qualifying standards.
Swimmers will return to Moscow on Nov. 1 for the state meet.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SCHOLAR CALL Area football coaches are urged to nominate players for the Ray Flaherty Scholarship Award, presented by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The Inland Empire chapter awarded $16,000 last year to 10 seniors. Besides the Flaherty Award, there are scholarships for the back and lineman of the year. All 10 finalists receive scholarship money. Each school can nominate a back and a lineman. Questions can be addressed to Michelle at (509) 924-7768.