I’m buying what the Greater Spokane League football coaches are selling.
In fact, they’re selling a couple of things. First, they peg Gonzaga Prep as the conference favorite. Second, they expect the league to be competitive from top to bottom.
After G-Prep, my predictions and the coaches’ forecast (see both in the GSL glance) differ until the final three picks.
I’m going one step further with my picks. I looked deep into one of my wife’s glass serving dishes and determined the final league records for each team.
A year ago, many thought Ferris was the clear-cut favorite. And in the end, the Saxons proved worthy of the attention as they advanced to the State 4A championship game.
Along the way, especially in league play, there were some hiccups. But Ferris eventually found its way.
Although I would go with G-Prep to win the league title if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t place more than a George Washington on it.
The coaches believe four of the six 4A schools could capture the league title. And the coaches and I agree that no 3A team will challenge for the conference crown.
Without further delay, here’s the final league records I see: G-Prep, 9-0; Central Valley, 8-1; Ferris, 7-2; Mead, 6-3; University, 5-4; Lewis and Clark, 4-5; Mt. Spokane, 3-6; North Central, 2-7; Shadle Park, 1-8; Rogers, 0-9.
Each team, including G-Prep, has talented players, and each has substantial question marks.
Ferris, Mead and University could wreak the most havoc with my predictions.
I can’t help but cast an eye toward Ferris simply because I like the way the Saxons play. Their spread offense makes for exciting games.
The Saxons have huge shoes to fill in the graduation of record-setting quarterback Connor Halliday. Junior Ben Goodwin, who is eight inches shorter than the 6-foot-4 Halliday, has been tabbed as Halliday’s heir.
Saxons coach Jim Sharkey isn’t changing the spread style. But Goodwin will run more out of the shotgun sets. He’ll also get the ball into the hands of wide receivers Jordan Tonani and Riley Stockton and tight end Grant Livingston.
CV returns the most letterman and its entire offensive line. That is key because no matter what level of football, things start and end with the o-line.
University returns the most starters (15) and has competition at quarterback between transfers Jeff Moe (CV) and Connor Johnson (G-Prep).
Mead figures in the equation largely because of a talented and deep junior class, led by state hurdle champion Wes Bailey.
• Over in Idaho in the 5A Inland Empire League, three teams will be in the mix for two state playoff berths – defending champ Lake City, state semifinalist Coeur d’Alene, which fell 25-21 to eventual state champ Eagle, and ever-improving Post Falls.
All three return solid, talented cores. LC and Post Falls bring back their backfields intact while CdA, which is breaking in a new quarterback, returns key starters elsewhere including the most depth of the teams.
I also looked at the schedules of the 5A and 4A IEL teams and here are the records I see each finishing with: 5A, CdA (8-1 overall, 3-0 league), Lake City (7-2, 2-1), Post Falls (7-2, 1-2), Lewiston (5-4, 0-3); 4A, Moscow (6-3, 2-0), Sandpoint (2-7, 1-1), Lakeland (3-6, 0-2).
I could be all wet. You’re invited to shoot me an e-mail (email@example.com) and tell me as much or offer your predictions.