It’s great to be back, friends.
I celebrated my 25th anniversary here last week. So I’m going to have a theme this year. I’m going to come up with what I call my Silver All-Time All-North Idaho teams for football, volleyball, and boys and girls basketball. I might even have a tip of the cap next spring for the top athletes in the 25 years I’ve been around.
First, a few thoughts about the football season:
I’m as excited as I’ve been for football. Here’s why: It’s impossible to forecast what’s going to happen in the 5A and 4A Inland Empire League.
I ventured out last week and offered our predictions for the IEL. But to be honest, those were just guesses.
There are years I nail my predictions. But in 5A, for example, we could have a number of different scenarios.
What will be key to any of the four 5A teams earning one of the two state playoff berths is the maturation of juniors. This will truly be a junior-dominated league. That bodes well for a highly competitive season a year from now, too.
I’m not going to put much stock into early results. Sure, Coeur d’Alene came out like a house afire against Lakeland and Lake City looked like it needed another month of preseason training after falling to Sandpoint. But all the 5A teams will have a hiccup or two before getting into league play.
Sandpoint made a statement, though. I have to think there’s a huge gulf between Sandpoint and the other two 4A teams, Lakeland and Moscow, at this point.
•Volleyball: No team will touch Sandpoint in the area. In fact, the Bulldogs probably won’t see much competition until state when they hook up against state nemesis Bonneville.
Flip a coin among the four 5A teams. Post Falls should have its best chance to earn only its second state berth in school history. Lewiston, behind towering 6-foot-3 middle hitter Savannah Blinn, will be a difficult matchup.
Coeur d’Alene is young but has much promising talent. Bret Taylor, who has seemingly coached every school in Kootenai County, takes over at Lake City and has much work to do before the Timberwolves are competitive. If anyone can do it, it will be Taylor.
In 3A, St. Maries and Priest River are the top two teams going into the season.
•Soccer: This is going to be a competitive season among the 5A and 4A boys and girls teams.
Sandpoint’s boys should capture an eighth state 4A championship. The CdA and LC boys will improve as the season progresses and should be battle tested come mid-October. The surprise team could be Post Falls.
In the girls, CdA, LC, Sandpoint, Post Falls and Lakeland should be quite competitive amongst each other.
See you at the games.