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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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North Star League

The Spokesman-Review

In predicted order of finish:

Wallace Miners

2004 records: 5-5 overall, 4-1 league

Coach: Dave Rounds

Years coaching, record: 14th, 56-63-1

Base offense, defense: I, 4-2

Starters, lettermen returning: 8, 15

Key players: Heath Peterson, senior, 5-7, 146, running back/safety; Justin Keener, sr., 5-9, 190, quarterback/linebacker; Marty Gallinger, sr., 5-10, 214, offensive line/defensive line; Sam Branstetter, sr., 5-11, 207, ol/dl; Chris Griffin, jr., 5-9, 198, lb; Nick Caron, jr., 5-9, 160, cornerback; Elliott Philp, jr., 5-10, 165, cb.

Coach’s comments: “We’ll definitely be better defensively. That was our big problem last year.”

Outlook: The Miners adjusted from 11-man to 8-man well last year, finishing second overall and earning the 1A Division I state playoff berth. Peterson, likely the best running back in the league, will carry the Miners to the top of the league this fall.

Mullan Tigers

2004 records: 4-5, 2-3

Coach: Bruce Bailey

Years coaching, record: 1st

Base offense, defense: I, 4-2

Starters, lettermen returning: 6, 13

Key players: Jesse James, sr., 6-2, 230, fullback/lb; Joe Ploharz, sr., 5-9, 200, qb/lb; Matt Murray, sr., 5-10, 240, center/defensive tackle; Cory Pehan, sr., 6-3, 180, rb/s; Eric Knapp, sr., 5-10, 170, rb/lb; John Coy, soph., 5-9, 140, rb/db; Jay Ploharz, sophomore, 5-10, 150, db/te; Scott Flood, jr., 5-11, 160, de; Randy Auger, jr., 5-9, 140, db/wr.

Coach’s comments: “We’ve got some talent. If our players step up in the skill positions, that will be a key to our season.”

Outlook: A talented group of seniors will give the Tigers a chance at capturing the league title and one of the two 1A Division II state playoff berths. Depth could be a problem, though. Mullan must avoid key injuries.

Clark Fork Wampus Cats

2004 records: 8-1, 5-0 (league champ)

Coach: Brian Arthun

Years coaching, record: 5th, 1st at CF, 11-18

Base offense, defense: I, 4-2

Starters, lettermen returning: 3, 10

Key players: Brian Young, sr., 5-10, 180, qb/lb; Kyle Ruen, sr., 6-2, 190, wr/de; Evan Martin, sr., 5-10, 175, wr/db; Stu Berkley, sr., 6-1, 210, c/dt; Bill Clayton, sr., 5-10, 195, rb/dt.

Coach’s comments: “We’ve got a good core that are dedicated and working extremely hard.”

Outlook: Arthun isn’t new to the NSL. He coached at Mullan previously, and takes over a well-established program. Young could be one of the most dangerous athletes to defend in the league. The Wampus Cats must overcome a rash of preseason injuries to challenge for the league title.

Kootenai Warriors

2004 records: 2-6, 1-4

Coach: Doug Napierala

Years coaching, record: 5th, 18-16

Base offense, defense: I, 4-2

Starters, lettermen returning: 9, 15

Key players: Danny Cress, sr., 5-10, 155, tb/lb; Jason Christensen, sr., 5-10, 185, de; Jesse Cress, soph., 6-0, 210, ol/dl; Cody Kraack, jr., 5-11, 170, te/lb; Bucky Thomas, soph., 6-2, 170, de/te; Jason Dutton, soph., 6-0, 230, ol/dl; Kellen Gustin, jr., 5-7, 165, ol/dl.

Coach’s comments: “Our big question marks are the skill positions. We’re going to be better than we were last year.”

Outlook: Too many question marks for the Warriors to challenge for a state playoff berth. But opponents must not overlook Kootenai.

Post Falls Christian Academy Eagles

2004 records: 2-7, 1-4

Coach: Kevin Rouse

Years coaching, record: 2nd. 2-7

Base offense, defense: Multiple sets, Cover 2

Starters, lettermen returning: 7, 11

Key players: Brandon Messier, sr., 6-1, 195, fb/lb; Andrew Ralls, sr., 5-11, 190, rb/de; Matt Rouse, sr., 6-0, 145, wr/db; David Park, sr., 5-7, 135, wr/db; Dustin Bedwell, jr., 6-2, 225, c/dl; Max Munson, jr., 6-2, 185, qb/de; Bryant Ridgley, sr., 6-0, 240, ol/dl; John Hutchinson, sr., 6-5, 210, te/de; Flynn Vick, sr., 5-11, 175, place-kicker/db.

Coach’s comments: “I think we can contend for a state playoff berth. We just have to execute.”

Outlook: The Eagles believe this could be their best season since qualifying for the state playoffs in 1999. With 10 of its 15 players as seniors, this could be the Eagles’ final year of football until the numbers build up.

Lakeside Knights

2004 records: 5-3, 3-2

Coach: Ron Miller

Years coaching, record: 14th, 55-65

Base offense, defense: Single wing, 4-2

Starters, lettermen returning: 5, 8

Key players: Travis Miller, jr., 6-0, 260, g/t; Wes Sifford, soph., 6-1, 260, g/dl; Casey Moore, sr., 5-11, 180, te/lb; Keith Sperber, sr., 5-9, 160, rb/lb; Adam SiJohn, jr., 6-0, 160, rb/lb.

Coach’s comments: “We’re either big or small. There’s not a lot of in between. We’ll just keep it a little vanilla for a while.”

Outlook: Graduation hit the Knights hard. The Knights will feature two of the top linemen in the league in Miller and Sifford. They’ll be called upon to open holes for a relatively green backfield.

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