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.
Road to the playoffs
The top three of four teams advance to Oct. 26 play-in games against Snake River Valley League teams, with the winners earning state playoff berths.
Two of the four teams have new coaches. Casey McLaughlin, a longtime Sandpoint assistant coach, takes over at Bonners Ferry. He’s the fourth head coach in three years. Shane Douglas, an assistant the past two years, takes over at Priest River. He’s a 1985 Priest River graduate and the third coach in three years.
What they’re saying
“We have young talent and we should get better from week to week,” McLaughlin said. “The athleticism is there and if we can consistently improve, then we will surprise some people. Depth could be a problem early on because we have a lot of kids ineligible with grade issues.”… Douglas is excited about the challenge of turning around a program that was winless a year ago. “They’re coachable kids and they work hard every day to get better,” Douglas said. “We’re going to be very aggressive. Our goal is to compete with every team. If I didn’t feel like I could better the program I wouldn’t be here.” … Kellogg returns just four starters. Coach Tyrel Hendrix said speed will be a team strength. … Timberlake is going to have a new look defensively. Longtime coordinator Gerald Ely retired. Longtime assistant Mike Menti will coordinate the defense.
Predicted order of finish
1. Timberlake, 2. Bonners Ferry, 3. Priest River, 4. Kellogg