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League shakeup assures new champ will emerge

Having lost league champion Wilbur-Creston to its ascension to 11-man football, the Northeast 1B South league welcomes two members from the north as several schools will now compete for the top spot.

The league welcomes both Wellpinit from the Northeast 1B North last year. And, the eight-man football league also gets Columbia, which will play separate from Inchelium for the first time since 2009.

“Hopefully, we’ll do better than last year,” Odessa-Harrington coach Bruce Todd said. “We only lost two seniors. And, one of those was a first-year player. So we have a lot more experience and depth.”

Clashes for the Titans

The Titans return several seniors to the squad that finished second in the league behind Wilbur-Creston. Odessa-Harrington went 5-1 in league and 5-6 overall.

Todd said he is moving Sam Schafer from quarterback to running back after Schafer won the state track title in the 100-meters. As a result, Todd will start former receiver Carsen Weber, a senior, at quarterback.

“We wanted to get (Shafer) in the backfield where he can run the ball a little more,” Todd said. “Carsen Weber is one of our better leaders. He’s not that big, but he’s a good leader and he’s tough.”

The Titans also return seniors Dakota Largent at receiver/linebacker; Steve Braun at running back/linebacker and Trevor King, who plays offensive line and defensive end.

“I think we’ll be pretty decent,” Todd said. “Hopefully we can keep the kids healthy and make a better run this year.”

Entiat, Pateros’ eyes forward

Todd said he expects tough competition from both Pateros and Entiat.

They both “will give us good competition,” he said. “I think they will be solid.”

Entiat went 3-3 in league last year and finished 7-4 overall. Pateros, which is still recovering from the devastating fires from earlier this summer, also went 3-3 in league and 6-4 overall.

Brandon Walsh, coach of Almira/Coulee-Hartline, agreed with Todd that Pateros and Entiat will be difficult opponents.

“I think Entiat is going to be tough,” Walsh said. “And, I think Pateros will be good this year.”

In addition to losing Wilbur-Creston, the league also lost Soap Lake and Waterville, which explains with the north-based teams Columbia and Wellpinit were added to balance the schedule.

ACH’s Thunder, Lightning

Walsh’s team will be led by pair of underclassmen, highlighted by junior quarterback Dallas Isaak.

“Dallas was a stud for us last year,” Walsh said. “We are also going to have sophomore running back Charlie Hunt. He’s a tough kid. He’s kind of the thunder to Dallas’ lightning.”

The team, which Walsh said was young, also returns senior offensive lineman/linebacker Jacob Vogel.

“We will have a bunch of sophomores contributing.” Walsh said. “I think we will be middle of the pack with some pretty good teams.”

Walsh said he thinks Odessa-Harrington will probably be the class of the league.

“I’d like to say we are going to be in the hunt for something,” he said. “But I’m just not sure. Our numbers are down a little bit.”

New members from North

Walsh said his ACH team played Wellpinit last year but he doesn’t know what to expect from Columbia, which his located in Hunters. Last year, Wellpinit went 1-8 in league and 1-9 overall.

“I think (Wellpinit) will be about like us, kind of average,” Walsh said. “They lost their best player. It will be interesting how they replace him.”

Walsh wasn’t sure what to expect from the Columbia Timberwolves, which finished 3-3 in league and 5-5 overall when playing with Inchelium players.

“I don’t know for sure which kid was a Columbia kid or who was an Inchelium kid,” he said. “However that works out will determine which team is better.”

1. Odessa-Harrington4. Pateros
2. Entiat5. Columbia
3. Almira/Coulee-Hrt.6. Wellpinit