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Leach: ‘I’m Excited To Be Here’

Before a packed ballroom in the Compton Union Building Tuesday afternoon, Mike Leach was welcomed aboard as the new head coach of the WSU football program.Leach flew into Pullman early Tuesday and was introduced to the crowd by Provost Warwick Bayly and Athletic Director Bill Moos; President Elson Floyd was reportedly sick and could not attend the press conference.In his introduction to the man taking over the football program from Paul Wulff, Moos said of Leach that, "I talked to one man and I only wanted one man.""I came back to Washington State to go to the Rose Bowl and we're going to go there," Moos said/KXLY. More here.

Question: How long do you think Mike Leach will stay at WSU?

Scribe: 2011 UI Vandals Total Stunk

It was a fitting end to a season that Vandals far and wide wish they could erase from their collective memories. A forgettable, yet unforgettable 56-3 thrashing by Nevada on Saturday capped a painful three-month stretch which featured two wins, four losses by seven points or fewer and one of the most consistently underprepared football teams I've ever had the pleasure (or in this case, displeasure) of watching.  In the fourth quarter on Saturday, Idaho was able to sum up its season with a comedy of errors that seemingly only the Vandals could pull off. With backup Taylor Davis in at quarterback and the Vandals facing a fourth-and-8 down by 46 points, the offense couldn't get the play in and had to take a delay of game penalty/Troy Warzocha, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Daily News/AP photo: Coach Robb Akey gives direction to a special teams unit in August when Vandals were dreaming of a bowl bid)

Question: What was wrong with 2011 Idaho Vandals?

Saturday’s highlights

Central Valley defensive coordinator Steve Kent’s intense energy and enthusiasm has sparked his Bears in holding their opponents to just 12 points in their last three games, including two playoff wins. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Saturday's Valley Voice is packed to the gills with news from the Spokane Valley area. Correspondent Steve Christilaw checked in with the Central Valley High School football team, which has had a successful season. Spokane Valley City Council candidate Ben Wick has clinched a win over competitor Marilyn Cline to take a seat on the council. Wick was ahead by only 20 votes on election night, but he drew further ahead as the vote counting continued.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on last week's Liberty Lake City Council meeting, which operated without a quorum for a while. The Spokane Valley City Council, after much discussion and a close vote, agreed to allow city staff to apply for a grant to build a decant facility to process the waste removed from the city's drywells. The council also unanimously approved the 2012 budget.

Fire District 8, Fire District 13 and the town of Rockford are regrouping after fire levies and bonds failed at the November polls. Each is considering how to move forward after voters rejected their request for money. Commissioners from the Spokane Valley Fire Department heard a presentation on their 2012 budget last week, which includes the construction of a new Station 6.  

Vikings end EWU’s playoff hopes

Visiting Portland State used a strong running game to knock of Eastern Washington 43-26 and spoil the Eagles' Senior Day at Roos Field on Saturday.

You can eventually check out the game story that will appear in Sunday's S-R here

Eags trail after crazy first half

Portland State's Connor Kavanaugh connected with Justin Monahan on an eight-yard scoring pass from eight yards out with only two second left in the second quarter to give visiting Portland State a 22-20 halftime lead over Eastern Washington in Saturday's Big Sky Conference matchup at Roos Field.

The opening 30 minutes of Senior Day was filled with odd plays and big plays that resulted in the two teams combining for 571 yards of total offensethree lost fumbles and a PSU touchdown that deflected off the hands of at least two Eastern defenders and ended up in the hands of Monahan after Eagles defensive backs Jeff Minnerly and T.J. Lee collided in the end zone while trying to interception a Kavanaugh pass originally intended for Kalua Noa.

EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was sacked on five of his first seven pass attempts, but ended up throwing for 292 first-half yards and three touchdowns.  Nick Edwards caught two of Mitchell's scoring pass,and Greg Herd hauled in the other.

Eastern's first-half rushing total was a minus-12 yards, while PSU picked up 187 yards on the ground.


Mitchell leads Eags to third straight win

Senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell had another big day on Saturday, throwing for 400 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington University treated a sellout homecoming crowd at Roos Field to a lopsided 48-27 win over visiting Northern Colorado.

You can read the game story that will appear in Sunday morning's S-R here, and you read the post-game report posted by EWU's sports informationd department here.

Big first-half by Mitchell gives EWU 24-10 lead

Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 242 yards and one touchdown and rushed for another score in leading the Eagles to a 24-10 halftime lead in Saturday's homecoming matchup against Big Sky rival Northern Colorado at Roos Field.

Mitchell completed 17 of 23 passes, connecting with Nicholas Edwards on a 19-yard scoring pass, and ran 1 yard for another TD.

Winless UNC got 163 first-half passing yards from Seth Labato, but netted only one yard on 10 rushing attempts.  Eastern also had trouble moving the ball on the ground, gaining just 17 yards on 23 rushing tries.

Eastern got its other points on an 8-yard TD run by freshman running back Quincy Forte and a 43-yard field goal by Mike Jarrett.

Look for Eags to look to Edward

Eastern Washington will try to build on its modest two-game winning streak on Saturday, when the Eagles welcome Big Sky Conference rival Northern Colorado to Roos Field for a 4 p.m. Homecoming matchup.

With wide receiver Brandon Kaufman out for the year with a broken hand, look for junior Nicholas Edwards to continue getting even more attention from EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and UNC's defense.

You can get an early look at the feature story on Edwards that will run in Friday morning's S-R here, and you can check out the game notes supplied by Eastern's sports information department here. In addition, I've inclluded this link to the weekly Big Sky notes supplied by the league office.


Mitchell sharp as Eags build 24-7 halftime lead against Weber

Senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 13 of 16 first-half passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington rolled to a 24-7 halftime lead against Big Sky Conference rival Weber State at Roos Field Saturday afternoon.

Mitchell connected with Nicholas Edwards on scoring passes of 22 and five yards, with the second coming just 19 seconds prior to intermission. His other touchdown pass went to Greg Herd, who took a short throw over the middle and turned it into a 51-yard scoring play.

Mitchell was operating without one of his favorite targets, Brandon Kaufman, who did not suit up because of a broken bone in his left hand. One of Eastern's starting cornerbacks, senior Alden Gibbs, was also on the sidelines in street clothes because of a thumb injury.

Mike Jarrett kicked a 46-yard field goal for the Eagles, outgained WSU 267-99 in the opening half and also rolled up a 17-7 edge in first downs. 


Sources say Hansen has left EWU football staff

Long-time EWU assistant coach Chris Hansen is no longer on the Eagles coaching staff, according to several sources.  And why he decided to leave remains a mystery to most, because no one at Eastern is comment on what is being called a "personnel issue."

You can read the story on Hansen's departure that ran in Thursday morning's S-R here, and you can check out the Big Sky Notebook that includes Eagles defensive coordinator John Graham's take on Saturday opponent, Weber State.

Column: Viks Didn’t Run Up Score

The lopsided score on Friday night raised some eyebrows around the state, so much so that Sandpoint athletic director Tom Albertson was fielding calls on Saturday from colleagues who hadn’t seen the game accusing the Vikings of running up the score. One caller had heard a rumor that Albertson and Coeur d’Alene athletic director Todd Gilkey engaged in a shouting match after the game. The funny thing was, Gilkey was not even present at the game. I had a front row seat for the action, and didn’t feel that the Vikings ran the score up, despite the high total. Running the score up usually occurs when starters are left in and teams continue to throw in the second half, and the Vikings did neither. They’re just a damn good football team, plain and simple, and could probably hang a similar number on a lot of 4A teams in Idaho/Eric Plummer, Bonner County Bee. More here. (SR file photo: Coeur d'Alene QB Chad Chalich, with ball, threw for three touchdowns against Lake City last year)

Question: What do you think about the lopsided 88-12 victory by powerhouse Coeur d'Alene High over Sandpoint last week?

EWU’s Zach Johnson out for year with knee injury

Eastern Washington's injury ravaged football team lost another key component from last year's national championship team Tuesday, when it was announced the senior linebacker Zach Johnson will undergo knee surgery and miss the rest of the 2011 season.

You can read more about Johnson and how the Eagles plan to move on without their top tackler on this post from the EWU sports information department.  And don't foreget to leave any thoughts you might have on how crippling this latest loss will be to EWU's nose-diving postseason playoff hopes.

MSU hands Eagles first loss on red turf

Sophomore quarterback DeNarius McGhee threw for one touchdown, ran for another and accounted for 233 yards of total offense in leading 4th-ranked Montana State to a 36-21 Big Sky Conference win over Eastern Washington at Roos Field on Saturday.

You can read the game story that will appear in Sunday's S-R here, and you can check out what EWU's sports information department posted about the game here.

MSU leads Eastern 20-14 at halftime

Montana State's Jason Cunningham kicked his second 55-yard field as time expired in the first half, giving the visiting Bobcats a 20-14 lead over Eastern Washington at intermission of their Big Sky Conference matchup at Roos Field.

WIth a sellout crowd of 10,422 looking on, MSU marched 90-yard on its first possession and took a 7-0 lead on Cody Kirk's 19-yard run. But Eastern responed in a hurry, as quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell connected with Brandon Kaufman on a 56-yard pass on the Eagles first play from scrimmage, and then found the junior wideout two plays later for a 10-yard touchdown toss.

A 6-yard scoring run by freshman Jordan Talley answered Cunningham's first booming field goal and put Eastern up 114-10 with 9 minutes left in the first half. But a 1-yard scoring run by MSU quarterback DeNarius McGhee, and Cunningham's second field goal, gave the Bobcats their halftime lead.

Eastern leads the total yardage battle 220-216, with Talley accounting for 81 yards on 12 carries for the Eagles. Mitchell finished the half completing seven of eight passes for 142 yards, and did not throw an interception.

MSU's Kirk had 91 yards on 13 carries.

Eastern's offensive line suffered another blow when senior All-American Chris Powers limped off the field, favoring his right knee, and did not return.


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Eags, Bobcats end first quarter tied at 7

Montana State and Eastern Washington both scored on their first possessions at Roos Field Saturday afternoon, and ended the first quarter tied at 7.

MSU's touchdown came on a 19-yard run by Cody Kirk, and Eastern got its first score on 10-yard pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to Brandon Kaufman, who also caught a long 56-yard pass from Mitchell on Eagles first play of the game.

Mitchell was 2-for-2 for 66 yards in the opening quarter.

Eastern's defense had trouble dealing with Kirk, who carried nine times for 68 yards.

The Eagles had a chance to take their first lead since early in their season, but 44-yard field goal by Mike Jarrett said wide right.

That drive was set up by a Matt Johnson interception, the 17th of his career, which moved him into a second-place tie with Kurt Schulz and Jackie Kellogg on the Eagles' all-time list, just one behind Mike Richter's career-best 18.

EWU preparing for home opener against No. 4 MSU

Eastern Washington's winless football team will take on 4th-ranked Montana State in its 2011 home opener on Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Roos Field, and the Eagles expect to have their hands full with the Bobcats' versatile sophomore quarterback DeNarius McGhee, the subject of this story that ran in Thursday morning's S-R.  In addition, I've included this link to the weekly game notes posted by EWU's sports information department, and this link to what MSU's sports info folks have to say about the upcoming game.

And, as promised, here's the link to  a story on how the Eagles are coping with all of the injuries in their offensive line that is scheduled to run in Friday morning's S-R. 

EWU falls to 0-3 with loss to Grizzlies

I was planning on posting about Eastern Washington's 17-14 Big Sky Conference football loss to Montana earlier this morning from Missoula.  But, then, I was planning to blog and tweet throughout the game.

So cue the wireless lament?  Yep, couldn't get on in the stadium press box or motel room. Fortunately our columnist John Blanchette also made the trip and was able to send my game story for me. You can link to it, along with Blanchette's column and related stories below.

Eagles’ hope to get ground game going

Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin insists their are several factors involved in the Eagles anemic rushing numbers so far this season.

You can read more in this story that ran in Wednesday morning's S-R, and you check out what columnist John Blanchette has to say about the Eagles road-heavy early season schedule here.

Teens help recover Drew Bledsoe’s bike

Coeur d’Alene police have recovered the stolen $5,000 Santa Cruz mountain bike belonging to former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Coeur d'Alene Police Department photo.

A teenage brother and sister from Coeur d’Alene recovered former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe’s stolen mountain bike.

 The football star’s $5,000 Santa Cruz bike was stolen off his car rack while he was visiting friends with his family in Coeur d’Alene over Labor Day weekend. Now Brandon C. Edgemon, 18, of Coeur d’Alene, (pictured) is in jail on a grand theft charge in the case.

The mystery began unraveling last week.

On Sept. 5, Edgemon rode by a home on the 800 block of North 22nd Street and saw Kelsea Justus, a girl he knew from high school, said her father, Rick Justus. He said Edgemon told the girl that the police were looking for him and he needed a place to store his bike. He asked if he could leave it at her house. She said no, but then she watched him hide the bike behind the house across the street, Rick Justus said, relaying the story told to him by his children.

Read the rest of Alison Bogg's story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 8: Football star's $5,000 bike stolen in CdA

EWU, Big Sky suspend Mario Brown for Montana Game

Eastern Washington, which dropped from first to 10th in this week's The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS poll, will be without starting running back Mario Brown when it takes on 12th-ranked Montana in Missoula on Saturday.

Brown, a sophomore who rushed for a team-high 33 yards on 15 carries in Eastern's first two games, was suspended for one game by his own university and the Big Sky Conference for throwing a punch following last Saturday's 30-17 road loss to South Dakota.

You can read more about the suspension here, and you can access the weekly game notes supplied by EWU's sports information department here. In addition, I've included this link to the weekly notes posted by the Big Sky office. 

Top-ranked Eags humbled by Coyotes

Eastern Washington's football fortunes took another hit in Vermillion, S.D. on Saturday when the top-ranked Eagles suffered a 30-17 upset loss to the University of South Dakota.

You can read the game story that ran in Sunday's S-R here; you can access the post-game report that was posted by EWU's sports information office here;  you can check out what  USD's sports info folks posted about the game here, and you can take a look at the game story that ran in Sunday's Sioux Falls Argus Leader here



South Dakota next up for Eags

Eastern Washington, still ranked No. 1 among FCS schools ventures to Vermillion, S.D., to take on South Dakota in the first of three road games to open the season.

Coach Beau Baldwin is looking for a physical battle against the Coyotes, and you can read more on what he expects in this game advance that will run in Saturday morning's S-R.

Looking back on Eags tough loss to UW

Another beautiful September morning in Seattle, and a great day to make the scenic drive back to Spokane.  But before we do, we need to look a little deeper into the scare Eastern Washington put into the University of Washington at Husky Stadium Saturday afternoon.

On the day after UW held off the confident, but error-prone Eagles 30-27, there are plenty of related comments, opinions and stories to digest — including this piece written by S-R columnist John Blanchette, and this game story that appeared in Sunday morning' s Seattle Time.

For more, read on. And be sure to check back for an early look at my day-after story on the game that will be posted here later this afternoon.


Eagles dominate, but lose to UW

I just finished my game story on Eastern Washington's 30-27 road loss to the Washington Huskies, and you can take a look at it here once it's posted.  In addition, you see what the Eagles' sports information department posted on the near-upset here, and you can read what Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley thought about the game here.

I will have a day-after story on the game in Monday's S-R and will link to it and several other related stories — including S-R columnist John Blanchette's take on the game — tomorrow.  I will also have additional thoughts and post-game comments, so please check back.

And in the meantime, feel free to leave any comments you might have on the Eagles season-opening effort on this blog post.

Eastern hanging with Huskies heading into final period

Washington capitalized on another big Eastern mistake to score the first touchdown of the second half and leads 27-20 going into the third quarter.

The Huskies were forced to pun on their secons possession of the third period, but the kick bounced off the helmet of EWU's Darriell Beaumonte and UW recovered on the Eagles' 27.  They scored three plays later on a 6-yard pass from Keith Price to Kasen Williams, but Eastern answered with a 73-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 43-yard pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to Greg Herd.

UW scored its first touchdown of the game after Matt Johnson muffed a punt and set the Huskies up with a short first.

More later.

Eags’ questions could be answered early against UW

EWU opens its 2010 college football season at 4 p.m. today against the Washington Huskies in Seattle.  You can read the game advance that appeared in this morning's S-R here, and check back for quarterly updates on the game.  You can also keep tabs on the Eagles by following me at http://twitter.com/srbergum.

Note: We've knocked offline at Husky Stadium, precluding any updates or tweets for the time being.

EWU’s Gibbs answers questions at corner

As promised, I've including this link to the story on Eastern Washington's small forward-turned cornerback Alden Gibbs, who will make his first start as a member of the Eagles defense in Saturday's season opener against Washington in Seattle.

And I've also this link to an entertaining Q&A Eastern's sports information department did on senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell.  In addition, you can read more about the five players who will serve EWU's captains this fall right here.

Eagles eager to get after UW

Eastern Washington's defending NCAA Division I championship football team will open its 2011 season against the University of Washington at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

"We're ready. I wish we could play right now," Bo Levi Mitchell, the Eagles senior quarterback, said earlier this week.  And Mitchell's teammates echoed those sentiments.

You can take a look at the S-R  feature story on the improvement Mitchell has made since transferring from Southern Methodist in the spring of 2010 here, and you can get more details on the EWU-UW season opener from this post on the Eagles athletic department website and this story the Huskies sports information department issued.

I've included additional links to related articles below, and be sure to check back for a look at the feature story on EWU's senior cornerback Alden Gibbs, a former Eagles basketball player, who will make his first collegiate start against the Huskies.

Prep football teams getting ready


WE'RE ABOUT 30 hours away from kickoff in the first Washington prep football game. Can you smell pork (pigskin) in the air?

Our combined college and prep football preview section that will be included in Thursday's newspaper. It should be a good read full of lots of information on every high school league in our region.

Anyway, I want to know what you, prep football fan, think of the upcoming season. I know what a few coaches think - at least the ones who have taken a few minutes to fill out questionnaires I sent them - but I'd like to know what you think. Check in here and leave your comments. Go as far as listing an order of finish for each league.

Thanks and I'll see you on the gridiron soon. (Pictured above is Central Valley quarterback Gaven Deyarmin)

Idaho Ready To Face Bowling Green

The Idaho Vandals host Bowling Green at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kibbie Dome to kick of their 2011 college football season. After nearly four weeks of fall practices, Coach Robb Akey reports that the Vandals are showing signs of marked improvement on the offensive and defensive fronts as well as stability in the backfields and among the receiving corps. You can read Akey's preseason State of the Idaho Vandals here. (Courtesy photo: Idaho Athletic Media Relations)

Question: Any predictions re: how the Vandals will do without Boise State on their schedule this year?