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Two former football stars, two officials hall inductees

Two former University of Idaho football standouts and two long-serving and respected officials have been selected for induction into the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame during the 51st annual North Idaho Sports Banquet on April 13 at the Coeur d’Alene Inn.

The Class of 2013 includes former football stars Eric Yarber and Steve Burratto and officials Charles “Bud” Ford and George “Les” MacDowell.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available starting March 15 at all Les Schwab Tire outlets and the Coeur d’Alene Inn.

Yarber, a wide receiver, went from a Big Sky Conference MVP season as a senior at Idaho in 1985 to playing two seasons with the Washington Redskins of the NFL in 1986 and ’87. The Redskins won the Super Bowl after the 1987 season. Yarber returned to Idaho in 1996 to begin a coaching career that has included college stints at UNLV, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona State, many under his former UI coach, Dennis Erickson. Erickson gave Yarber his first professional job with the Seattle Seahawks in 1998. Yarber also coached with the San Francisco 49ers, and is currently the wide receivers coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Burratto went from Clarkston to play one year on an undefeated Columbia Basin College team before transferring to Idaho. After redshirting his first year with the Vandals he started every game the next three years at center and nose guard, earning All-Big Sky honors at center his senior year. He made a couple of attempts to play for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL, but both were unsuccessful. His coaching career, however, which included more than 500 games over 40 years, was highly successful. He had stints at the high school level, including one year at Sandpoint, and college, including at UI as a graduate assistant, but by far his most success came in the Canadian Football League, both as an assistant and head coach. He was with teams that played in multiple Grey Cups, winning championships as a head coach with the BC Lions in 2000 and as an assistant under former Spokane resident and UI teammate Don Matthews with Baltimore in 1995.

Ford, who has lived in Coeur d’Alene since childhood, has been an athlete, official, coach and supporter. A 1948 graduate of Coeur d’Alene High School, he started his decades of sports officiating while serving two years in the Army. Ford officiated football for more than 60 years and basketball for over 30 years. In 2010, he was selected the first State of Idaho Official of the Year. He was one of the founders of the North Idaho Booster Club and has served as president of the North Idaho College Booster Club. He was elected a councilman in both Coeur d’Alene and Hayden, and in 1965 was selected one of the Outstanding Young Men of America.

MacDowell, a math teacher of more than 40 years, 35 of them in Lewiston, was a basketball official in Idaho for 25 years. He worked 17 state tournaments for both boys and girls and 32 district tournaments and was the first person inducted into the Idaho Basketball Officials District 2 Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also a track and field official for 28 years, working 10 state meets, and coached track and field for 22 years. MacDowell received a Distinguised Service Award from the National Federation of Officials, and has been the P.A. announcer for Lewiston High School basketball and volleyball the last 17 years.

College scene

A couple of redshirts, sophomore Joseph Cohen of the men’s tennis team, and freshman Hayley Hodgins in women’s basketball, were named the Eastern Washington Scholar-Athletes of the Month for February based on their performances in January.

Cohen, a native of London, has played No. 1 for the Eagles this season, compiling a 2-1 record in singles and 2-2 in doubles. He has a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average as a business major.

Hodgins, from Pasco, averaged a team-high 14.2 points on 48 percent shooting, while adding 14 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals as a starter during Eastern’s five-game Big Sky Conference win streak. She has a 3.8 GPA.

Both received Big Sky Conference player-of-the-week recognition last month.

• Six Montana athletes from the Spokane area were named to Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic teams with grade-point averages of 3.2 or better.

Chase Naccarato, a freshman from Mt. Spokane, and Bo Tully, a junior from Mead, were named in football; Kortney James, a junior from Sandpoint, was selected in volleyball; Caleb Dietz, a junior from Mt. Spokane, and David Norris, a sophomore from Coeur d’Alene High, were on the men’s cross country all-academic team; and Shannon Lindsay, a sophomore from Gonzaga Prep, was honored in soccer.

Letters of intent

Gonzaga women’s soccer: Ashley Aberton, Holladay, Utah, forward, a school-record 22 goals as senior and 54 in career; Karley Baggerly, Canby, Ore., forward, 14 goals as senior; Sarah Carter, Bonney Lake, Wash., defense, first-team All-State for State 2A champions; Aliyah Miller, Bountiful, Utah, defense, All-State as senior; Kristin “KK” Standish, Redmond, Wash., midfield, All-State first team; and Sarah Swanson, Lake Oswego, Ore., goalkeeper, 0.7 GAA as senior and second-team All-State.

• Community Colleges of Spokane men’s golf : Zack Spencer, Mt. Spokane, second-team All-Greater Spokane League and WJGA District 5 champion; Nick Thurston, Mt. Spokane, first-team All-GSL; Brady Clakins, W.F. West of Chehalis, Wash., No. 2 ranked senior in Washington.

• Idaho track & field/cross country: Tim Delcourt, Surrey, B.C., distances, 2012 B.C. provincial cross country champion; Meghan Palesch, Surrey, B.C., hurdles, 2012 Canada youth national 100-meter hurdles champion; and Emma Balazs, Prince George, B.C., distances, 2012 Canadian youth national champion in 2,000-meter steeplechase.

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