In predicted order of finish
1996 record: 5-2, 7-3, third in NEB-11, lost in first round of playoffs
Coach: Dan Graham
Years coaching, record: 7th, 5th at Reardan, 33-9 at Reardan
Starters, lettermen returning: 10, 10
Base offense, defense: Wishbone, 4-4
Top returners: Tony Adams, sr., 5-9, 235, G; Aaron Martin, sr., 6-4, 195, G.
Newcomers: “None - unfortunately.”
Quick kicks: Senior Rhett Soliday will start at quarterback, junior Reece Jenkin at running back, but they’ll switch back and forth.
Coach’s comment: “Most of our kids didn’t pay their dues in the weight room this summer so I’m disappointed in that.”
Outlook: The Indians had 40 players on their roster last year and only five were seniors, so despite Graham’s fears his teams has to be favored. No matter what, with three playoff spots available, Reardan should make the postseason.
1996 record: 6-1, 8-2, second, lost in first round of playoffs
Coach: Skip Pauls
Years coaching, record: 17th, 14 at Davenport, 99-60
Starters, lettermen returning: 7, 31
Base offense, defense: Wing T, 4-4
Top returners: Travis Telecky, sr., 5-10, 175, RB/LB (all-league DB); Dale Buchanan, sr., 6-0, 180, QB/DB; Ben Turner, sr., 5-9, 150, OLB; Nik Bergman, 5-10, 200, OG/LB (two-way all-league lineman); Clay Hammond, jr., 6-4, 270, OT; Cody Rodenbough, sr., 5-7, 140, WR.
Newcomers: Jermiah Johnson, sr., 5-9, 165, FB; Casey Parsons, sr., 5-10, 165, OG; Mark Hall, jr., 6-0, 170, QB; Chris Pauls, soph., 5-11, 220, C; Jesse Morrison, jr., 6-0, 185, TE/LB; John Stiele, jr., 5-7, 175, RB/DB.
Quick kicks: Dale Buchanan, an honorable mention all-league quarterback, is moving to flanker with his backup, Mark Hall, taking over.
Coach’s comment: “Our league will be very strong; there will be no walkovers. We feel we have a great chances of making the playoffs again. The players are excited.”
Outlook: A lot of Gorillas have had a taste of varsity action with 31 lettermen back, but they still have to handle key roles. If they stumble, a season-ending game with Ritzville could determine the last playoff spot.
1996 record: 4-3, 4-5, sixth
Coach: Rod Fletcher
Years coaching, record: 17th, 101-51
Starters, lettermen returning: 7, 16
Base offense, defense: Wishbone; 4-4
Top returners: Mike Pottratz, sr., 5-9, 160, RB/LB; Jeremy Engle, jr., 5-10, 155, QB/SS; James Mortimer, sr., 6-3, 215, OG; Barry Greenwalt, sr., 6-1, 165, LB; Brad Wiman, jr., 6-0, 160, RB/LB; Casey Holling, sr., 6-0, 170, TE/DE; Jake Holling, soph., 5-9, 150, DB; Mike Lish, sr., 6-1, 255, DT.
Newcomers: Cy Cousins, sr., 6-0, 170, FB/LB; Matt Horlacher, jr., 6-3, 220, C. Quick kicks: Cousins started as a sophomore, but was injured early and didn’t play last year.
Coach’s comment: “We expect a good season. We should place in the top three and be a playoff team. (This is the) best team since our last playoff appearance (1993).”
Outlook: The Lancers lost four players to transfer, which hits their offensive line and depth and makes their playoff hopes a little more tenuious. A season-ending game with Reardan could be for the league title, or survival.
1996 record: 4-3, 5-3, fourth
Coach: Mike Lynch
Years coaching, record: 23rd, 144-75-2
Starters, lettermen returning: 7, 5
Base offense, defense: Split backs; 4-4
Top returners: Dustan Arlt, 5-9, 145, QB/ DB; Alan Hille, 5-10, 160, LB/RB; Alex Castillo, 5-8, 200, DL/OL; Brien Marcus, 5-10, 150, DB/WR.
Newcomers: Tim Rasmussen, 5-8, 270, OL/DL (transfer from Eatonville).
Quick kicks: Lynch greeted 41 players this fall, but 29 were freshmen and sophomores.
Coach’s comment: “We are so inexperienced that we’re not sure we have any (strengths).”
Outlook: Lynch has a history of doing more with less, which could make the Broncos a contender for the third and final playoff spot.
1996 record: 4-3, 6-3, fourth
Coach: Bill Grigsby
Years coaching, record: 6th, 2nd at W-C, 26-23
Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 20
Base offense, defense: Pro set, 4-4
Top returners: Sorrell Katich, sr., 6-0, 163, QB; Kane Nelson, sr., 6-2, 184, TE; Eric Tesch, sr., 6-1, 182, OT; Nathan Corning, sr., 5-8, 187, OG; Mike Samuels, sr., 5-11, 180, RB; James Villars, sr., 5-10, 210, RB.
Newcomers: Darrell Doolittle, 6-0, 182, C.
Quick kicks: The Wildcats are rebuilding after graduating nine starters.
Coach’s comment: “(Our success) depends on the growth of younger players.”
Outlook: If the young players develop quickly, the Wildcats could challenge for the final playoff spot, but inexperience at linebacker and throughout the offense will make it difficult.
1996 record: 6-0, 11-1, Northeast B-8 champions, second in state
Coach: Myron Kramer
Years coaching, record: 25th, 165-60
Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 16
Base offense, defense: I; 5-2
Top returners: Jared Praetorius, sr., 6-3, 225, G/NG; Joel Harding, sr., 5-7, 165, RB/LB; Dan Pitts, jr., 6-0, 195, RB/LB; Scott Kramer, jr., 5-8, 165, QB/S; Don Valverde, sr., 5-10, 160, WR/DE.
Newcomers: Ricky Walters, 5-11, 195, C/NG; Josh Frederick, 5-9, 160, WR/S; Ryan Coleman, 5-9, 185, G/NG; Troy Ferder, 5-8, 150, RB/DB; Ben Volkmann, 6-2, 180, G/NG Quick kicks: As an 8-man power, Odessa made 15 playoff appearances in Kramer’s 24 years with four appearances and two titles in the championship game. Kramer has a 33-19 record in 11-man football.
Coach’s comment: “The Tigers will play hard. Hopefully (the top returners) will give us some necessary leadership to get rolling. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Outlook: This league is just too good to allow the Tigers to move up from 8-man and contend for a playoff spot.
1996 record: 2-5, 3-6, seventh
Coach: Matt Cox
Years coaching, record: 1st, 0-0
Starters, lettermen returning: 8, NA Base offense, defense: Wing T; 6-2
Top returners: Luke Winona, jr., 6-1, 210, OT/DT; Blinn Carstensen, soph., 5-11, 165, FB/LB; Matt Baergen, jr., 5-10, 170, T/DE; Dan Dormaier, sr., 5-10, 170, G/DT.
Newcomers: Craig Elder, jr., 5-10, 160, E/S; Jamie Gwinn, jr., 6-2, 175, E; Kenneth Evans, jr., 6-0, 165, QB; Kerry White, jr., 5-10, 160, RB/DE; Craig Winona, frosh., 5-9, 170, G; Ryan St. John, sr., 5-10, 150, CB.
Quick kicks: Junior Luke Winona is already a three-year starter and his brother Craig is following in his footsteps, penciled in on the line with Luke.
Coach’s comment: “It’s going to be game-to-game to see how everything goes.”
Outlook: Cox, the Warriors’ wrestling coach, replaces Stuart Gloyn, and he has a young team. That is bad news in this league and it didn’t help last weekend’s jamboree when a couple other teams from the north had to cancel because harvest was still going on. However, with all the young players getting experience, the Warriors have a chance to cause problems while also looking to the future.
1996 record: 5-3 with an independent schedule
Coach: Steve Frank
Years coaching, record: 4th, 2nd at S-H, 17-9
Starters, lettermen returning: 8, 15
Base offense, defense: West Coast; 4-3
Top returners: Matt Henry, jr., 6-0, 160, WR; Jason Carroll, sr., 6-0, 170, QB; Matt Wagner, sr., 5-8, 160, FB/OLB; David Merton, sr., 5-11, 170, LB; Jim Pelissier, sr., 5-11, 170, RB.
Newcomers: Aaron Henry, frosh., 5-10, 185, LB; Kyle Swift, frosh., 5-10, 200, G; Calvin Gilmer, soph., 6-4, 200, G; John Young, soph., 6-2, 190, DT; Aiden Montano, sr., 6-0, 175, WR.
Quick kicks: As many as five freshmen could start.
Coach’s comment: “We are young and small. Last year we played six 8-man games and two 11-man games. We are still learning the 11-man game and the Bi-County is the best B-11 conference in the state.”
Outlook: The Falcons are just too young to contend, but experience at the skill positions could make them dangerous, especially if the youngsters can hold their own.