Craig Tefft enters his sixth season at St. Maries more excited than he’s ever been.
The excitement is palatable through town, too.
The Lumberjacks, 6-4 a year ago, won their first state playoff game since 1987 last year, advancing to the State 2A quarterfinals.
All three Central Idaho League teams – St. Maries, Grangeville and Orofino – automatically qualify for the playoffs for a third straight year with the top two earning home games the first round. For St. Maries, the goal is to be one of the top two teams.
“This year our biggest strength is our team-first mentality,” Tefft said. “This group of kids is all about team first. They just want to win.”
There’s work to be done. The Lumberjacks return eight starters but must fill some holes in the offensive and defensive lines. With a turnout of 50, it’s a matter of deciding which five linemen on offense work together best, Tefft said.
“This group of kids and coaches know that we have a great opportunity to be very successful this season if we are able to make good choices on and off the field,” Tefft said.
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