The good news for the Timberlake High football team is it returns nine two-way starters.
The bad new is the Tigers’ depth is razor thin.
It’s not a new dilemma, though. In 2005, Timberlake (5-5 overall, 4-1 league in 2008) used just 12 players most of the season, and that was good enough for the Tigers to advance to the state semifinals.
So Timberlake coach Roy Albertson isn’t too concerned.
“We’re in the same place we were four years ago,” Albertson said.
The Spirit Lake school will use about 14 players. That will allow Albertson to keep his sophomore class together on the junior varsity.
The Tigers’ returning starters are all seniors. They are center/defensive tackle Joe Sedillo (6-foot, 225 pounds), quarterback/cornerback Derek Puckett (6-3, 160), wingback/safety Derek Tymesen (6-0, 170), right guard/linebacker Matt Kriz (6-3, 200), fullback/linebacker John Morris (6-0, 185), left tackle/defensive end Tim Jones (6-3, 230), running back/linebacker Cody Aery (5-9, 160), wide receiver/cornerback Tyler Marines (6-0, 160) and linebacker/running back John Shaffer (5-11, 165).
Others challenging for starting jobs or playing time are seniors Conner Peery (5-10, 165), a guard/lb, tight end/defensive end Andrew McLean (6-4, 212), tackle/de Mike Conradt (6-2, 195), lb/nose guard Tyke Murdock (5-10, 195) and wr/defensive back Cameron Simon (5-11, 165) and sophomore right tackle/defensive tackle Allen Foote (6-3, 306).
Backing up a senior class of 16 are 14 inexperienced juniors.
“Offensively and defensively I like our speed,” Albertson said. “It’s the fastest team we’ve had. Our kids will compete hard. We just can’t afford to lose any players.”
Orofino, which moved up from 2A to 3A last year, captured the Intermountain League title last season, knocking Timberlake from its familiar perch. The Tigers, Orofino and Priest River (5-4, 3-2) will battle for the league title.
Like Timberlake, Priest River will start mostly seniors. The Spartans’ top returning starters are seniors Mike Riley (5-11, 195), a lb/fb, cb/rb Tanner Rabidue (5-11, 190), guard/de Justin Deal (5-11, 190), tackle/defensive tackle Kyle McDonald (6-1, 255), lb/tight end Chad Yount (6-6, 210), lb Zack Miller (6-2, 210), center/dt Eric Sieracki (6-1, 312), cb Will Chambers (5-11, 160), de Jordan Willig (6-3, 195) and de/g Jeff Boncz (6-2, 210).
Juniors Tyler Douglas (5-8, 155) and Eric Holbrook (6-1, 175) will rotate at quarterback.
The Spartans will be seeking its first league title in school history.
“We should be able to run the ball really well,” PR coach Jared Hughes said. “We’re big up front, especially on the left side.”