The bragging rights going into the fourth season of Pick 6 reside where they should be – with the Scribe, yours truly.
SWX sports director Sam Adams, the man who runs against the grain of his industry (look at his mug, he requires no brush or comb), will try to pull even this fall.
All I can say is good luck. I like my chances.
This fall promises to be another season of entertaining football. Last year produced two state champs in Gonzaga Prep and Almira/Coulee-Hartline. Trust me, they’re not trying to just make the playoffs at those schools this year. Both schools believe deep playoff runs can be attained again.
There will be plenty of challengers, especially in the 4A Greater Spokane League.
All games are on Friday. Here we go.
Shadle Park at West Valley, 7
Lee: Interesting game here. The Highlanders are looking for a bounce-back year and bring back the most experience among 3A GSL teams. WV brings back several starters and will challenge for a league title. I’m going with the home team here and a nice debut for Craig Whitney’s crew. WV 26, Shadle 18.
Adams: This is a rematch of last year’s finale between the Highlanders and the Eagles. Questions abound for WV, which must find a way to replace star rusher John Sage, while Shadle is still looking for an identity in the post-Rypien era. This might be the most closely contested game of the night. Shadle 14, WV 13.
Deer Park vs. Rogers, Albi Stadium, 5
Lee: The Stags also return a lot of talent and will have a say in which teams advance from the NEA to the playoffs. Rogers is coming off a special year in which it qualified for the postseason for the first time. The Pirates have many holes to fill and must rely heavily on their strength – a sizeable offensive line. That line should be able to open holes for running back Eric McKay. This will be a ball-control game and I’m going with the Pirates to control the ball the most. Rogers 27, DP 21.
Adams: Since taking on nonconference opponents out of the GSL, the Pirates have had a fighting chance on Friday nights. They beat Lakeside and West Valley last season, and gone are the one-win seasons at Rogers, and we can all be thankful for that. Competitive football is good for the GSL, and great for the kids playing the game. Rogers 28, DP 21.
Lewis and Clark at Lake City, 7
Lee: I saw Lake City play last week and it wasn’t pretty. But in the Timberwolves’ defense, they were playing a playoff-caliber team and Lake City had less than three weeks to learn coach Bryce Erickson’s system. I can see the potential. The Tigers return six starters. They’re breaking in a new offense behind senior running backs Cameron Duncan and James Aragon. I waffled on this, but I think Lake City, having played already, will rebound. Lake City 25, Lewis and Clark 20.
Adams: LC will be the first to tell you they have a long way to go at this point in the season. See what I did there? It truly applies to both LC’s - Lewis and Clark and Lake City. The Timberwolves got pasted by Madison in their first game without Van Troxel as their head coach, while Dave Hughes oversees a young group of Tigers hungry to prove themselves in 2016. Lewis and Clark 20, Lake City 17.
Gonzaga Prep at Eastside Catholic, 7
Lee: Had this been last year at this time, I probably would have picked Eastside Catholic. The senior class the Crusaders had a year ago was deep and talented. EC must replace a three-year starter at quarterback – not to mention 16 starters total. Yes, the Bullpups have their holes to fill, but this is a team that traveled well last year. And it’s a team hungry to prove it can be as good this year. G-Prep 27, EC 21.
Adams: How do you possibly top a matchup pitting the top-ranked 4A team in the state against the two-time defending State 3A champs? Yes, both teams lose their starting QB’s from their respective title runs, but these programs are reloading for another title run. Oregon-bound wide receiver Devin Culp should impress yet again on the West Side, just as he did in the 4A title game in Tacoma. G-Prep 20, EC 14
Post Falls vs. Mead, EWU, 6:05
Lee: The Trojans showed well in their season-opening win at Sandpoint under first-year coach Blaine Bennett. Now they face an opponent that’s bigger, stronger and faster. Mead is poised to have a breakout season under second-year coach Benji Sonnichsen. The Panthers are champing at the bit to play. They’ll start fast and it’ll be too much for Post Falls. Mead 35, PF 21.
Adams: This will be the Panthers first foray against an Idaho opponent since losing to CdA, 42-28. That was way back in 2006. Eastern’s red turf is the perfect place to showcase two teams that have shown a willingness to spread the field and cut the rug. Mead topped 35 points in three of its last four games to close out the ’15 season, while Post Falls overcame a sluggish start to find Matthew Mills for three TDs in last Friday’s season-opening win at Sandpoint. Mead 21, PF 14.
Central Valley at Coeur d’Alene, 7
Lee: The Vikings won’t see another team in the same zip code as Folsom, which had three NCAA Division I receivers that can run 4.4 40s. And each was at least 6-foot-1. CdA has some mistakes to correct, and the Viks will make many corrections Friday. I really like the Bears’ potential under first-year coach Ryan Butner. This is a matchup between two of the better teams in the region. But it’s an opener for CV and teams are wont to make mistakes in openers that they won’t make later in the season. And it’s the second game for the Viks. CdA 38, CV 28.
Adams: Here’s the ultimate rest versus rust scenario between two surprisingly familiar foes. Does CdA have what it takes to recover from a very taxing trip to California last weekend? Will CV be able to shake off the postseason rust as it makes its season debut? The Bears will lean on a grizzled defense as they gets their offense up to speed, while the Viks will look to build on last weekend’s 36-point outing at Folsom. I see both teams flipping the script from last year’s incredible CdA comeback win over CV, with the Bears rallying back to push the Viks to the limit. But CdA should hang on – barely – to pick up the win. CdA 34, CV 31.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.