The Washington high school football season is underway. Here’s a preview for the Greater Spokane League 4A, 3A and 2A, plus Northeast A and B teams in the area.
Teams in alphabetical order by classification. Records/standing listed from fall 2021.
Greater Spokane League 4A/3A
Central Valley (7-3, 7-1, second in 4A): The Bears lost as much to graduation as anyone and bring back 10 starters for coach Ryan Butner’s seventh season. Senior Dylan Gravelle takes over at QB and the defense is anchored by senior LBs Brandon Thomas and Zach McMurtrey. “Gravelle made the transition from WR to QB and has had a great offseason,” Butner said. “The O-line is new across the board but is big and ready to make a statement.”
Cheney (1-9, 1-8, sixth in 3A): The Blackhawks had a rough go of it last season in their first full season in the 3A ranks, but ninth-year coach Bobby Byrd has 30 letter winners and 13 starters back, led by QB Jakeb Vallance. “Our receiver core and running backs have made strides this off season along with our offensive line,” Byrd said. MLB Micah Ragaza-Bourassa will be the leader on defense.
Ferris (4-6, 3-5, fourth in 3A): Coach Malik Roberson returns for his second season with five starters back. The Saxons will be young but will benefit from solid line play, including senior offensive tackle O’Jay Jones and junior d-linemen Roderick Byrd and Dylan McCain. Junior RB Trevor Morton will have a heavy workload.
Gonzaga Prep (11-1, 8-0, first in 4A): The Bullpups lost some significant players to graduation but return a large portion of the team that advanced to the state quarterfinals last season (31 letter winners, 15 starters). Senior JoJo Shortell takes over at QB for all-everything Ryan McKenna, and the defense must replace the leadership of DE Kaz Melzer, DT Ephraim Watkins and LB Lucio Reynolds.
Lewis and Clark (4-7, 3-5, third in 4A): The Tigers return one of the most exciting players in the league, first-team all-league RB Gentz Hillburn, who will be asked to do even more in his senior season by third-year coach Joe Ireland. “We’re a senior-heavy team with tremendous experience, a powerful and athletic offensive line, talented running backs and a fast and stingy defense,” he said. 36 letter winners and 14 starters return.
Mead (3-6, 3-4, third in 3A): Keith Stamps enters his second season with a full offseason and 14 returning starters, including most skill positions on offense. The Panthers will be led by strong-armed QB Colby Danielson with speed on the outside with transfers Johnny Talarico (Ferris) and Keenan Kuntz (West Valley). Center Jacob Gaitlin is leader for the line.
Mt. Spokane (8-3, 6-2, first in 3A): The Wildcats return just one starter from last year’s playoff team, slot Blake Speer. Coach Terry Cloer, in his eighth year at the helm, will be working in a lot of new talent, including transfer RB Matteo Saccomanno (Gonzaga Prep). “We don’t have the size up front that we’ve had the past few years, but our speed and athleticism can make up for the lack of size.”
Ridgeline (1-9, 1-6, fifth in 3A): The benefit of being a new school: no graduations from last season for second-year coach David Myers. The Falcons have 22 starters and 45 letter winners back, including dynamic playmaking sophomore WR Brayden Allen – who set the GSL single-game (17) and season record (72) for catches – and all-league honorable mention QB Tanner Smith. “We have some great players at our skill positions, and we have a lot of returning varsity experience,” Myers said.
University (4-4, 4-4, second in 3A): The Titans return 22 letter winners and 10 starters for third-year coach Kaleb Madison. The offense has weapons, led by RB Malaki Miller and wideouts Jalen King and Tre Buchanan, while QB Caleb Wolcott will distribute. “As a collective group we have gotten bigger, faster and stronger,” Madison said. “With great leadership of our seniors the Titans will be a force to reckon with.”
Greater Spokane League 2A
Clarkston (4-4, 4-2, second): The Bantams bring back 25 letter winners and 15 starters, including second-team all-GSL QB junior Carter Steinwand and senior receivers Landon Taylor, a first-team pick, and Christian Howell. OL Sage Lone Bear and WR Mason Brown, both juniors, transferred from Lapwai.
East Valley (6-4, 3-2, second): Fifth-year coach Tom Griggs has a burgeoning superstar in his backfield with junior Diezel Wilkinson, the returning GSL 2A all-purpose MVP. The Knights only have four starters back, but seniors Eddie Ary and Alonzo Vargas are anchors on the lines.
North Central (2-5, 1-4, sixth): The Wolfpack return nine letter winners and eight starters for first-year coach Aaron Woods. “As a team, we need to embrace the daily challenges at practice and our opponents on a weekly basis,” he said. “We need to focus on the things we can control and go out and compete every play of every quarter through the entire course of the game.” Junior Tommy Elliott, a second-team all-league DB last year, is the QB and there are experienced, if undersized, offensive linemen.
Pullman (4-6, 3-3, fifth): Coach David Cofer, in his sixth season, has nine starters and 18 letter winners back, including a trio of first-team all-leaguers: senior WR Tanner Barbour, junior HB Terran Page and senior LB Max McCloy. “We will lean on a big, experienced line on both sides of the ball and complement that with explosive backs out of the back field,” Cofer said.
Rogers (0-10, 0-7, seventh): Coach Mike Dewey has 24 letter winners returning, including dynamic junior QB Deon Kinsey and junior OL Mekhi Burgess. The Pirates haven’t won the past three seasons, but Dewey thinks they’ll break out this season. “We have great kids who spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer and are trying to get better.”
Shadle Park (6-3, 6-0, first): The reigning GSL 2A champs have 30 letter winners with nine starters back for coach Jim Mace’s ninth season with the Highlanders. First-team all-league senior QB Tre Dickerson will hand to senior Beckett Ensminger and throw to senior WR Jordan Dever again this season, while Kaden Watts leads both lines. “We have many quality returners, and some very promising younger players,” Mace said. “We suited up 13 freshmen in our state first-round game last year.”
West Valley (5-4, 2-2, fifth): The Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs in a three-way tiebreaker last season and may have a chip on their shoulders for the upcoming season. Coach Craig Whitney, in his 18th season, returns a whopping 37 letter winners and 17 starters. The offense will be sparked by senior QB Raesean Eaton and junior receiver Grady Walker.
Colville (1-7, 0-5, seventh): The Crimson Hawks bring back nine letter winners and seven starters for third-year coach Greg Mace. Senior Cale Roy takes over at QB and he’ll rely on senior receivers Allan McKeraghan and Colbie McEvoy to do a lot of heavy lifting in their return from injury while the young offensive line gels.
Deer Park (3-6, 1-4, fifth): Third-year coach Levi Hogan hopes “to make some noise in a very, very tough league.” Senior QB Remi Scott is one of 20 returning letter winners, along with second-team lineman Andrew Dedicos.
Freeman (7-3, 4-2, third): All-league QB Boen Phelps is among 18 starters returning for fourth-year coach Ben Cochran, who counts a talented offensive line as the team strength. “We have a lot of seniors from last year’s team hungry for a great season,” Cochran said.
Lakeside (11-1, 6-0, first): The Eagles won a highly competitive league last year with hopes to repeat. Sixth-year coach Devin Bauer has 10 starters back, including league offensive MVP QB Kole Hunsaker and first-team RB Sadahiro Patterson. “We have some tough roles to fill, but guys are eager to step in and do their part,” Bauer said.
Newport (4-5, 3-3, fourth): Coach Dave Pomante returns for his sixth season with 10 starters and 23 letter winners back. “We have many returners with two and three years of varsity experience,” he said. Second-team all-NEA FB Nolan Loosier and QB Bear Smith are senior leaders.
Riverside (10-2, 5-1, second): The Rams were state quarterfinalists last season, and seventh-year coach Buddy Wood has 14 starters back, including junior QB Jake Gaffaney and senior linemen Cameron Burnham and Brock Martin, both all-league selections. “We are as good as or better than any team in our league in the battle for the trenches,” Wood said.
Colfax (5-4, 4-4, fifth): Coach Mike Morgan is back for his 25th season with six starters and 15 letter winners returning, including all-league senior RB/LB Mason Gilchrist and QB/DB Seth Lustig. “The offensive line and defensive line are all returning starters from last fall,” Morgan said.
Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (9-1, 7-0, first): First-year coach Brendan Bermea is in an enviable position, taking over a state caliber squad with 19 starters back. QB/DB Chase Galbreath was all-league both ways, as was TE/DE Hunter Dinkins. Brock Kinch and Brody Boness will both get lots of carries.
Northwest Christian (6-4, 5-3, fourth): The Crusaders were a playoff team last year and third-year coach Marshall Hart has seven starters returning with hopes to get back there. Senior QB Mike Bauman, senior OL Hunter Lindsey and junior WR/DB Ryan Waters are leaders.
Reardan (2-8, 1-7): Matt Clouse takes over a team that went through growing pains last season and returns just six starters. A pair of seniors, Hunter Wyncoop and Jaquiin Stroble, along with junior Aidan Chilson, will all get plenty of reps at RB.
Wilbur-Creston-Keller (8-2, 7-1, tied second): The Wildcats fell to eventual 1B state champ ACH in the quarterfinals last year and have 14 letter winners and nine starters back, including all-league senior QB Dru Becker, junior RB Kalub Dreger and sophomore RB Preston Michel.
Northport (2-6, 2-5, ninth): Eighth-year coach Kevin Dionas has a young group, but there’s some experience as nine of the returners had experience as ninth- or 10th-graders. That includes sophomore QB Dawson Baribault, who started all eight games last season. “We are still very young but will be very competitive this season,” Dionas said.
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