Back by (un)popular demand is the fifth season of Pick 6.
SWX sports director Sam Adams tied up the overall series last year. So big congrats to him.
I like Sam a lot. What he and his co-workers do at SWX is outstanding. I’m going to miss working with him. Come early September, I’ll hand the baton off to a capable co-worker, Dave Nichols, who will have something in common with Sam. Here’s a clue: I don’t know if the studio can handle the glare.
But this is about prep football and let’s get to it. This region is going to be chock full of exciting games this fall. So here we go with our first lineup.
As always Sam, the worst of luck to you.
West Valley vs. Shadle Park, Thursday, Albi, 7
Lee: This should be an entertaining first game out of the shute. The Eagles are picked to win the GNL while the Highlanders should be much improved. The 1-2 punch of Xavier Wicks and Carson Doyle along with a talented defensive front will be enough to propel Shadle. SP 26-21.
Adams: The Eagles would love a repeat of last year, when they beat the Highlanders on the way to a 10-2 season. This will mark the third year in a row that we’ll see this 3A vs 2A matchup, but none have been played at Albi until now. Shadle looks to be improved from last season, with an experienced Xavier Wicks looking to run roughshod his senior season. Shadle 27-20.
East Valley vs. North Central, Friday, Albi, 5:30
Lee: This comes down to one thing – or one athlete. In a name, Rodrick Fisher. He was the fastest athlete in the state last spring in all classifications. He will be a force at wide receiver and defensive back. And on special teams. And … wherever his dad, Coach Adam Fisher, wants to put him. EV 28-20.
Adams: If NC is going to compete for the GSL 3A crown, it’s going to have to show it can hang with a 2A contender in EV. The Knights have a playmaker in WSU commit Rodrick Fisher, who was recently granted an additional year of eligibility to play high school football. EV was unable to win on its home field against NC last year, and beating the Indians at Albi will be a tall order. But something tells me the Knights are going to shine bright under the lights Friday. EV 20-14.
Sandpoint at University, Friday, 7
Lee: Big game for the Titans, who are scrapping a pistol-like offense for a ground-and-pound scheme behind a sizeable line. Sandpoint is coming off a difficult loss to Post Falls. The Bulldogs are better than what they showed last week. Sandpoint will make good strides this week. But U-Hi needs to get off to a good start. U-Hi 21-14.
Adams: The Titans and Bulldogs have been locked in some thrilling, high-scoring affairs through the last few years (66 points scored in 2015, 103 in 2014), but last year’s edition turned into a 13-10 stalemate. Expect a similar ballgame this time around in the second of the Adam Daniel-coaching era. He has instilled a hard-nosed brand of football at U-Hi. “No finesse,” in his words. Grit and hard work may just win the day on Friday night. U-Hi 16-12.
Lake City vs. Lewis and Clark, Friday, Albi, 8
Lee: It’s the annual battle of the LC’s. Both teams are thin and lack depth. This comes down to which team has the best skill players. That edge, in my opinion, goes to the Timberwolves with running back Grant Clark and capable quarterback Bryce Buttz. T-Wolves 27-21.
Adams: Fun fact – each of the last five installments of the “Battle of LC’s” has been decided by an average of 31 points per game. Despite the scores being onesided, the series has been a near draw, with Lake City winning three times since 2008, and the Tigers winning twice. This should be the year that we finally get a close ballgame, but your guess is as good as mine on who will come out on top. In a coin flip game, I’m going with LC. Lake City, that is. T-Wolves 21-17.
Post Falls vs. Mead, Roos Field, Friday, 6
Lee: The Trojans were 6-3 last year but suffered an embarrassing loss to Mead in this same game. Post Falls is a senior-laden team with no two-way starters and a talented backfield and solid defensive front. The Trojans are looking for a bounce back from a year ago. Mead, meanwhile, is breaking in a new quarterback in what should be a high-octane offense again – especially with talented receivers Joseph Heitman and Lucas Bacon. Mead had struggles on defense last year, but not against the Trojans. I hope this is as competitive as I think it will be. Mead 30-24.
Adams: The Trojans opened with a resounding win against Sandpoint but now Post Falls must take on Mead’s high-flying offense. This will be our first look at an overhauled Panther defense that struggled last season, and they’ll be tested against an offense that rolled up 56 points last week. Mead 42-21.
Coeur d’Alene at Central Valley, Friday, 7
Lee: If Colson Yankoff plays – and that’s a big if – CdA has no problem here. If Yankoff sits another week as expected, the Viks will have to rely on other weapons and their defense. CV is going to be a good team, but it may take some time. CdA benefits from playing a game already. CdA 24-21.
Adams: The Vikings managed to score 33 points without Colson Yankoff in their season opener. The UW-bound QB continues to recover from offseason knee surgery and he may not be available for another couple of weeks. That opens the door for CV to dish out some payback after a 48-11 loss to the Vikings in last year’s opener. But CdA may very well continue its dominance in this Idaho/Washington game for a fourth straight year dating back to 2014. CdA 34-28.
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