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The game was new for a batch of wide-eyed Odessa varsity freshmen soon to embark on a memorable football journey. Now seniors, this year is the fourth in careers that progressed slowly but surely and led to last season’s State 1B semifinal game.
If Mike Morgan has to lead his team against Jeff Bartlow’s Waitsburg-Prescott Cardinals again this season, he knows what to expect from Bartlow. The Cardinals – annual trouble for other area football teams in the Southeast 2B League – won the state 2B title last season with an unblemished 14-0 record.
The Coeur d’Alene football team knows back-to-back 5A state championships are nice. But the Vikings want to prove that a third straight title is even nicer.
In his first nine seasons as head football coach at Timberlake, coach Roy Albertson’s teams have made the State 3A playoffs each year. That isn’t about to change this fall. In fact, the Tigers are heavily favored to captured a seventh straight Intermountain League championship.
Top returners Here are the returning first team all-league players: Keith Goulding, offensive/defensive lineman, West Valley; Sergio Rodriguez, OL/DL, Deer Park; Eric Igbinoba, wide receiver/defensive back, Cheney; Terrynce Duke, WR/DB, WV; Adam Talley, running back/kickoff returner, East Valley; Colby Ruark, RB, Clarkston; Zach Corean, DL, Cheney; Joel Paul, DL, Pullman; Coleman White, LB, Cheney; J.T. Phelan, DB, EV.
Up front When asked last week about the “chemistry” of his offensive line, assistant coach Aaron Best replied, “Do you have a periodic table of the elements?” It was a cerebral answer, but then he is the team’s academic coordinator.
There is little debate about what Kasen Williams’ ceiling as a college receiver can be. The Washington Huskies sophomore is tall. He’s fast. He’s strong. And, as evidenced in last season’s Apple Cup game against Washington State, he can jump, too. His hurdle of WSU cornerback Nolan Washington is a gold standard of sorts for Williams’ athletic ability.
The perfect finish On the final day of last season, the Waitsburg- Prescott Cardinals won the school’s first state football title by beating Morton/White Pass 33-7 in the Tacoma Dome. Star quarterback Zach Bartlow threw two touchdown passes to Dalton Estes and ran in another. Running back Billy Brown accounted for the other two touchdowns as Waitsburg-Prescott finished the season 14-0.
Top returners Here are the returning first team selections: Davian Barlow, running back, Mead; Luke Rogers, RB, Rogers; Dane Crater, offensive lineman, Mead; Nathan Hundeby, tight end, University; Brennan Schon, wide receiver, Lewis and Clark; Austin Rehkow, placekicker, Central Valley; Jake Hoffman, all-purpose player, North Central; Langston Ward, defensive lineman, Mead; Danny Mattingly, co-defensive player of year, Mead.
It seems like it’s a battle that can’t be won. North Star teams, by and large, have struggled mightily at playoff time against District II teams (south of Moscow). 1A Division II Kootenai has broken through a couple of times, but 1A Division I Wallace has yet to break through. Since Wallace joined the NSL in 2004, the Miners have been to the Division I state playoffs every year and knocked on the door for a state final appearance twice. But a District II team has been in the way. The Miners have been in the semifinals two of the last three years.
All about the offense It would be quite literally unprecedented if a Washington State quarterback doesn’t post passing numbers among the nation’s best this season.
PULLMAN – The conference table is covered with lunch fixings – meat, side dishes, dinner rolls. Help yourself, Mike Leach says, sipping his coffee, depth charts and notes and printouts scattered before him. On this mid-August day, with Washington State’s football team knee-deep in training camp, it’s hard to say how long Leach has been in his office – “a glorified hallway, really,” he calls it – but it’s obvious he’s made this space in the Bohler athletic complex his temporary home.
One of the biggest changes coach Mike Leach has brought to the Washington State football team has nothing to do with passing yardage or point totals. Leach shook up the WSU program by instituting his famed zero-tolerance policy in regards to the three violations he deems most reprehensible – drug use, theft, and abuse of women.
A year ago the Wellpinit Redskins plowed new football turf by making their first State 1B tournament appearance. The hope this year is a run deeper than last year’s top-eight finish and 9-3 season record.
The preview story for Greater Spokane League football begins and ends with the Mead Panthers. If Mead wasn’t part of the conference this fall, there would be an unparalleled balance between the other nine teams. The Panthers appear to be in a class by themselves.
If you’ve followed Great Northern League football in recent years, you know that if anything can happen it usually does. It’s arguably been the most competitive league in the region, and that won’t change this fall. And there’s another ingredient that will heighten the intensity, if that is possible – there won’t be any play-in opportunities. The league receives two automatic berths into the state playoffs.
Top returners Here are the returning all-league first team players: Jereme Nereaux, offensive line, Timberlake; Forrest Herring, linebacker, Timberlake; Cory Squires, LB and co-defensive player of year, Kellogg; Carman Kirchbaum, LB, Bonners Ferry; Garrett Wendt, defensive back, Kellogg; Cam Riley, DB, Priest River.
MOSCOW, Idaho – They were all buddies back in Los Angeles. Dominique Blackman, Brandon Wimberly and Ken McRoyal – three gifted athletes bonded by football and family. Now just two of them remain, and Blackman – Idaho’s new starting quarterback – knows it could easily be just him.
Whitworth’s first football practice was halfway over when sophomore quarterback Bryan Peterson rolled right and on the move fired a 35-yard rope that hit a receiver in stride. Head coach John Tully turned to a few bystanders on the sideline with a did-you-see-that? grin on his face.
As Kyle Padron starts a new chapter in his life, he’s already on the right page. And we’re not talking about the playbook. The previous chapter is closed, but speaks volumes about the character of Eastern Washington’s next quarterback, who will lead the Eagles into the 2012 season tonight at Idaho. It includes sudden stardom, self-doubt, newfound faith and a fresh start far from home.