Seven first-team picks return including two-way selections Jared Job of Kellogg and Mason Cramer of Timberlake.
The other returners are Preston Rhodes of Timberlake, who was co-offensive player of the year at running back, Christian Trocke of Bonners Ferry and Daniel Buck, Keegan Scott and Austin Allen of Timberlake.
New, old coach
Bonners Ferry has its fourth coach in three years and it’s a familiar face. Eight days before fall practice began, Ed DePriest was named the Badgers’ coach. His teams were a combined 12-22-1 the first three years he coached.
Around the league
Bonners Ferry is coming off an 0-8 season, and the Badgers must learn a new offensive system under DePriest. “There are a lot of questions and there will be a learning curve with the new system,” DePriest said.
“There will be some eligibility issues the first couple of weeks, but this team has the potential to be very competitive.”
Timberlake coach Roy Albertson agrees.
“They have a good number of seniors,” Albertson said. “With a new coach they’re coaching on the run.”
Priest River graduated some key seniors, but second-year coach Shane Douglas is optimistic.
“If we keep getting better every day, we will be very competitive with all the teams on our schedule,” Douglas said.
The team with the best chance at challenging Timberlake is Kellogg. The Wildcats return nine starters including quarterback James Red, a junior.
“It’s the second year with a new offense and we have size up front and in the backfield,” Kellogg coach Tyrel Hendrix said.
Road to the playoffs
The postseason scenario has changed once again. This year the top two teams earn automatic berths. Last year, the top three had to win play-in games to qualify for the playoffs.