If things go as predicted by the North Star League football coaches, the 2005 season could look quite similar to 2004.
The most anticipated change would be a flip-flop in the top two finishers. Wallace is picked by the league’s coaches to unseat defending champ Clark Fork. Otherwise, the state playoff qualifiers would remain the same with Wallace tabbed to claim the 1A Division I berth and Clark Fork to be joined in the Division II playoffs by Mullan.
Wallace adjusted to the smaller game in its first season in 8-man last year.
“We weren’t ready for 8-man at the beginning of the year,” admitted Miners coach Dave Rounds. “That really hurt us against Clark Fork.”
Rounds believes the Miners are poised to make a run at the league championship.
“We’ll probably have more numbers than anybody,” Rounds said. “We’ve got some pretty good depth.”
Kootenai coach Doug Napierala expects Wallace to cruise to the league title.
“They learned a lot about 8-man last year,” Napierala said. “They’ve got some fast kids and good size on the lines.”
Longtime Clark Fork coach Frank Hammersley retired. But he left the program in good shape.
Brian Arthun takes over, and Arthun has previous NSL experience, having spent four years as head coach at Mullan.
Arthun is converting running back Brian Young to quarterback. The theory is Arthun wants his top athlete to often have the ball in his hands.
Five of the six coaches picked Wallace to capture the league title. Clark Fork got the other first-place vote. Mullan, Lakeside, Kootenai and Post Falls Christian are picked to finish in that order.
Mullan is perhaps a dark horse. If either Wallace or Clark Fork stumbles, the Tigers could leapfrog to the top of the league.
“Mullan’s got a great bunch of seniors,” Arthun said.
Bruce Bailey, Mullan’s athletic director and head boys basketball coach, replaces Norbert Lane, who moved to the Nampa area.
“I’ve had these kids in basketball and they’ve been a lot of fun,” Bailey said. “That persuaded me to coach football. I really enjoy this group of seniors.”
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