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Intermountain League: Timberlake Tigers still the team to chase

If anyone is synonymous with Intermountain League football championships it’s Timberlake coach Roy Albertson.

Entering his 13th season after “retiring” from a similar position at Chewelah, Albertson has directed Timberlake to 10 league titles, including the last six, and 12 straight trips to the playoffs.

The Tigers, who are 82-43 under Albertson, have made the state playoffs each year.

There’s no reason to think Timberlake’s league dominance and playoff string will end this season. But there could be challenges.

Timberlake has a small senior class backed up by 15 yet-to-be proven juniors.

“Depth is an issue,” Albertson said. “We have 15 kids who will be on varsity.”

As many as eight will be two-way starters.

Timberlake returns eight starters – six seniors and two juniors. The Tigers are led by senior quarterback Ryan Starr, who broke a handful of records last year.

Starr and a stable of six running backs used in Timberlake’s Wing T offense will give the Tigers balance.

“With our runners, we’ve got some size and speed,” Albertson said.

Back for second go around

Kellogg earned the league’s second playoff berth last year. The Wildcats should qualify again if not challenge Timberlake. They’ll do so with the return of Tim Kimberling as head coach. Kimberling coached Kellogg seven years in his first stint. “I like our overall competitiveness,” Kimberling said. “We have a good number of leaders.”

Kellogg returns three offensive linemen and four key skill players. “We will be dealing with inexperience on the defensive front,” Kimberling said.

Revolving door

That coaching revolving door at Bonners Ferry turned again, and Cory Kramer is the Badgers’ new coach. He takes over with 10 returning starters off a team that went 1-7. “We have a good mix of speed and power on both sides of the ball,” Kramer said. “We are a young team but have a lot of varsity experience with most of the juniors being starters last year as sophomores. We have almost doubled our numbers from last year, so that is a huge victory already.”

Kramer is optimistic the Badgers can have a breakout year. “We have a shot at having a great season,” he said. “We have depth at all positions and have really implemented a positive winning atmosphere. It has paid off in practices already. The sky’s the limit.”

Rebuilding at Priest River

Spartans coach Shane Douglas begins his fourth season knowing his young team has a large learning curve to overcome. But Douglas, never to shy away from a challenge, is hopeful.

“They know they have a great challenge in front of them,” Douglas said. “They’re having to learn our system quickly.”

Priest River found out exactly where it stood in a nonleague opener at Bonners Ferry. “I told our boys there is no reason to lower expectations,” Douglas said. “We have some hurdles to overcome but we are capable of winning.”

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