It seems like only yesterday that Dave Trimmer and I were driving back from Tacoma following state track meets, and here it is the start of the 2009-10 sports season.
Alas, age hastens the passage of time.
The first football games for Washington schools are this week, including tonight’s Ferris-North Central Greater Spokane League opener at Albi Stadium.
My gut feeling is that the GSL has three tiers. Ferris and Mt. Spokane are on the top tier. The next tier – Central Valley, Gonzaga Prep, Lewis and Clark, Mead and University – can all finish anywhere between third and seventh. Third-tier teams are 3A East Valley, North Central, Rogers and Shadle Park.
If I could, I’d pick the Great Northern League in a six-way tie. Colville coach Randy Cornwell said he wouldn’t be surprised if the champion has two losses. How do you pick against Colville or Pullman, who have ruled the past five years?
But my hunch is that West Valley and Deer Park should be up there. League coaches are wary of the league’s biggest school, Cheney, and traditionally sound Clarkston.
All the preseason posturing and prognostication is done, however. What happens on the gridiron now is all that matters.
Big district showdown
In 1998 Mead and Mt. Spokane, the school formed from its rib, played each other in football for the first time. The upstart Wildcats pulled off a shocker, beating Mead 25-23. Thus a rivalry was born.
Mead has an 8-3 advantage and has won the last four, including 29-22 a year ago. But Panthers coach Sean Carty figures they aren’t favored when the two open the season at 8 p.m. Friday at Albi Stadium.
“To be the underdog is good for us,” Carty said. “Our pressure is to perform the best we can and their pressure is to earn the title.”
“Every year is the same,” Mt. Spokane coach Mike McLaughlin said. “It’s a big game for both schools. Last year I thought they played well and we played well and it was quite a game. It gets kids’ attention early.”
Speaking of the big game, construction around Albi Stadium could make for a bottleneck given the anticipated big crowd. The west parking lot (on the home team side) is unavailable, GSL secretary Randy Ryan said, so entrance to the field will be from the south side only.
Station SWX, the cable affiliate of KHQ will have a full schedule of televised GSL football games this year, beginning Friday with Lewis and Clark at Lake City. Games will be replayed at 9 a.m. Saturdays.