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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  High school sports

2019 Prep Football Preview: Idaho small schools ready for gridiron action

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 4, 2019, 7:33 p.m.

Last week we previewed Idaho 5A and 4A teams. This week, we catch up with the smaller schools in the Gem State.

Intermountain 3A

In alphabetical order. All records listed are 2018 results.

Bonners Ferry (1-8) has a new coach – of sorts. Travis Hinthorn, who has helmed girls basketball for 13 years and track for 16 years for the Badgers, has taken over the football program.

He has coached eighth-grade football the past seven years and has grown attached to the big incoming freshman group. Hinthorn said they ran out of gear with 58 players turning out this season.

“They are high-character kids who are good students,” Hinthorn said. “I have a weight training class at the high school and most of them are in it.”

Seniors RB/LB Ty Bateman and WR/LB Jake Jelinek will be relied upon for leadership.

Kellogg (3-5) lost three all-league selections, including QB Raiden Ricketts, but has 16 lettermen and six starters returning.

Junior all-league TE Brandon Miller has moved under center for third-year coach Dan Lucier. League defensive MVP Justin Lehto, an all-league pick on offensive line as well, will lead.

“The boys have worked hard and have a great attitude,” Lucier said.

Priest River (3-5) is looking for stability. Coach Jared Hughes, the fourth head coach for the Spartans in as many years, was a longtime assistant and he ran the program from 2007-09.

Caden Brennan, an all-league pick at DB last season, will take the snaps on offense behind a veteran line. RB Teagun Holycross may be one of the fastest players in the state at any level.

“Brennan will have to shoulder the leadership role as we install a new offense,” Hughes said. “Protecting the football will be key.”

Timberlake (7-4) was league champion, finished third at state last season and is receiving top-five votes already. Coach Roy Albertson starts his 16th season with the Tigers one win shy of 100 for his career. He has 18 lettermen and 10 starters returning.

“There is potential to be a good team, but we don’t have a lot of depth so injuries could be a factor,” Albertson said.

IML MVP Joey Follini is back calling signals. He’ll be joined by fellow all-league seniors RB/DB Louis Powell, RB/LB Jeremy McLemore and TE/LB Josh Yanez.

Central Idaho 2A

St. Maries (6-4) has 17 lettermen and 12 starters coming back for ninth-year coach Craig Tefft. His Lumberjacks won their opener last week and have broken into the state media poll.

Key returners include senior WR/DB Ethan Hill and junior RB/LB Eli Gibson.

“We have good depth at many positions, which will allow us to stay fresh for four quarters,” Tefft said. “We have lots of kids who will be playing in new roles and will need to learn how to compete in a hurry.”

North Star League 1AD2

Clark Fork (4-3) will be led by junior QB Cameron Garcia, the league MVP a year ago. Garcia combined for 25 touchdowns last season – 13 rushing and 12 passing. He also had three more interceptions on defense than offense.

Veteran coach Brian Arthun hopes this is the year his team can get over the hump, from merely consistent to the top of the pack.

The North Star League has split with the White Pine League this season and will earn a guaranteed berth to the state playoffs.

Lakeside (2-7) returns seven starters among 11 lettermen, including QB Tucker Sanchez and lineman Lazarus Iron Cloud. Junior all-league WR/DB Jayson Hall is a dynamic playmaker.

“We have a good group of returners this year,” sixth-year coach Chris Dohrman said. “But with just 12 players we need to stay healthy all year.”

Mullan (4-3) has two returning all-state players to lean on: WR/DB Ian Farris and WR/LB Skye Gallaway. Farris had 10 interceptions last season – five in one game.

Eighth-year coach Stetson Spooner is looking forward to getting freshman QB/DB Caleb Ball on the field.

“Ball has everything athletically that a breakout player needs,” Spooner said.

Wallace (1-7) is experiencing its lowest turnout in years, but sixth-year coach Jared Young is still enthusiastic.

“This year we have mostly underclassmen and look to build their football awareness for the coming years,” Young said.

The line will be anchored by senior Gary Gunderson, junior Colten Pentland and sophomore Kalyb Smith. Young thinks they should be able to move people and give the Miners a chance to run the football, primarily with junior RB Alex Field.

The Miners are ineligible for postseason play this season, stepping down from Division 1 to D2.

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