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Quick hits

Looking ahead

Let the real games begin. The Friday high school football menu is chock-full of what should be entertaining fare.

For starters, there’s the Inland Empire League 5A opener featuring Lake City (5-1) at Lewiston (4-2). There’s the pair of IEL 4A games that have Lakeland (2-4) at Post Falls (2-4), and Sandpoint (2-4) at Moscow (5-1).

If that’s not enough, Timberlake (2-4) treks to Bonners Ferry (4-3) in a game that should decide the Intermountain League championship.

In the North Star League, defending champ Clark Fork (4-2, 3-0) can all but wrap up the league title when the Wampus Cats entertain Wallace (4-2, 2-1).

In other games, Missoula-Sentinel (1-7), fresh off its first win a week ago, is at Coeur d’Alene (5-1); Priest River (1-5, 0-2) goes to Kellogg (4-2, 1-0); Post Falls Christian (3-2, 2-1) visits Mullan (4-2, 2-1); and Kootenai (0-6, 0-3) is at Lakeside (1-5, 0-3).

As always, most games in the area begin at 7 p.m.

“Lake City has owned Lewiston in recent years. The Timberwolves will look for a fifth straight win over the Bengals.

To do so, though, LC must beat a much-improved Lewiston team – much improved, that is, over last year.

The Bengals have had their offensive and defensive ups and downs despite posting four wins. Two weeks ago, after getting out to a 14-0 lead against Sandpoint, the Bengals’ offense stalled and they had to hold on for a 14-13 win.

Then last week, Lewiston opened a 14-0 lead against Capital only to watch the visitors from Boise rebound for a 46-28 victory.

Lewiston coach Emmett Dougherty would once like to see his best team show up for the majority of a game.

“I don’t know if we have to play our best game, but we’re going to have to play our most consistent game,” Dougherty said of the prospects of beating LC. “I feel like we’re on the verge of putting it together. But I’ve thought that every week.”

LC coach Van Troxel said his team is looking forward to traveling to Lewiston – for good reason, it seems.

“Two of our best games have been on the road,” Troxel said of LC’s 35-27 win at Eagle and the 45-32 win at Sandpoint last week. “We had one of our best Tuesday practices this week. It’s all starting to make sense to them. They’ve seemed to (have) bought in to what we’re trying to do.”

LC has lost standout junior running back/linebacker Brandon Hanna for the season. He broke a fibula last week on LC’s first kickoff return. A pair of juniors will replace Hanna – Seth Sanders on offense and Chris Bobbitt on defense.

Looking around

Coach reprimanded

One of the most successful girls basketball coaches in the state, Jim Pankratz of Borah, has been put on administrative leave with pay, Boise School District Superintendent Stan Olson told The Statesman newspaper in Boise last week.

The leave was effective Sept. 22 and includes his teaching and coaching duties. The reason for the leave is a personnel matter, Olson told the newspaper.

Pankratz has coached and taught in the Boise School District for more than 25 years.

“The only thing I can tell you at the point and time is that I have not decided what I am going to do,” the coach told the newspaper. He coached Borah to 5A state titles in 1997, ‘99 and 2001. Borah lost to Boise 30-28 in the state final last year.

On to state

The various state-qualifying events begin Saturday and conclude the following week.

Inland Empire League volleyball champion Moscow (22-0, 11-0) will play host to the 4A Region I tournament on Saturday. Action begins at 11 a.m., when top-seeded Moscow takes on No. 4 Sandpoint (2-12) and No. 2 Lakeland (13-9) faces No. 3 Post Falls (8-17). The championship match, which sends the winner to state, and a loser-out match follow at 12:30 p.m. Another loser-out match follows with the winner advancing to a play-in match for another state berth the following Saturday. State will be held at Lake City High School.

“The 3A District I tourney begins Saturday at North Idaho College and concludes Tuesday.

Final seeding will be decided tonight. Intermountain League champ St. Maries (19-3, 7-0) long ago secured the top seed. The district final will be Tuesday night at 7:30, with the winner advancing to state, to be held at Coeur d’Alene High School. The district runner-up can earn a state berth in a play-in match the following Saturday.