The Colville National Forest separates Colville and Newport high schools, forcing either to traverse through the state’s fourth-largest national forest to play football.
But last fall, the two programs also met in the Tacoma Dome on the final day of the season for the right to hoist the State 1A title.
Fifth-seeded Colville triumphed over 10th-seeded Newport 48-7 that day, but 2019 is a retooling year for both the Indians and the Grizzlies.
Both teams open their seasons on Friday, and it isn’t until Oct. 18 when they finally get to hit each other.
In alphabetical order. Records listed are 2018 results.
Colville (11-2, 6-0), the defending state champ is again led by Randy Cornwell – his 22nd season at the helm. He returns three serious college prospects in lineman Jory Dotts, RB/LB Grant Michaliszyn and TE/LB Paul Skirko, all seniors.
Dotts, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound all-league defender, has drawn interest from Division I schools. All-state LB Michaliszyn led the team with seven interceptions last season.
The Indians lost league MVPs John Knight and Jacob Newsom to graduation. Early on, there could be adjustment pains as inexperienced players settle into their new roles.
But Colville has built a tradition of success under Cornwell, who said that tradition is what allows the Indians to consistently stay near the top of the standings.
Deer Park (6-3, 3-3) coach Keith Stamps – in his 16th season – said senior RB Matthew Jorgensen is as good as any running back he has coached.
“Offensively, we have the best team speed we have had in years,” Stamps said.
The Stags boast a small – but talented – senior class, according to Stamps. Deer Park was competitive in 2018 and the Stags have experience at key positions.
Junior all-league LB Sam Riebold, senior LB Bennett Lim and junior lineman AJ Stenbeck will anchor the defense.
Freeman (0-9, 0-6) will be led by Jace Phelan, an all-league LB and second-team QB from a season ago.
“Phelan will be our best player on the field,” second-year head coach Ben Cochran said. “He plays a funny combination of inside linebacker and quarterback, because he is tough as nails.”
Freeman should build off last season as seven sophomores and two freshmen were starters. Only five starters graduated and 17 starters return.
Lakeside (3-6, 3-3) lost QB Kasen Hunsaker – – an all-leaguer on both sides of the ball in 2018 – to graduation. The Eagles will need to rely on the five seniors on the offensive line to help the maturation of the two QBs battling for the starting job.
Third-year coach Devin Bauer was happy to see the effort the big guys put in the weight room in the offseason.
“This senior class has worked hard to put themselves in position for a great 2019 season,” he said.
FS/WR Logan Allen returns from injury. He placed fifth at state in the 100-meter dash in the spring.
Medical Lake (1-7, 1-5) coach Jeremy Bahr finds himself with almost a fully turned-over roster. With 22 starters graduated, Bahr is looking to build on a season in which the Cardinals earned their first two wins in two seasons.
“With a host of young talent and a mix of veteran talent, the sky is the limit for this team,” Bahr said.
Two seniors lead the way for the Cardinals: RB/LBs Mason Hammond and Brandon Giles.
Newport (11-2, 5-1) will look to reload under third-year head coach Dave Pomante.
The keys to success have to lie with the ability of the team to mature together, Pomante said.
Jacob Kirkwood – an all-league receiver and all-state punter – is the Grizzlies’ best playmaker. Johnny Goodman and Luke Nichols – a two-way all-league lineman – are the forces up front.
Riverside (6-5, 3-3) lost four starters, but the Rams return a powerful nucleus of linemen on both sides of the ball.
Creighton Jarman and Aaron Covey won all-league awards on the offensive and defensive line.
“We will rely heavily on our guys up front this season,” fourth-year coach Buddy Wood said.
Sammy DesRoches will step into the vacant RB spot in 2019 while looking to build on his second-team all-league LB award.
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