Year in and year out talk about football in the Intermountain League begins and ends with one school – Timberlake.
If seven straight league championships and nine straight playoff appearances don’t make Timberlake king of the IML what would?
All Timberlake is expected to do this year is add another league-title banner to its ever-crowded cache.
The 2013 version could be the best – if not the deepest – since Timberlake started 11-0 in 2006 before losing in the state semifinals.
“It can be as good a team as we’ve had,” Timberlake coach Roy Albertson said. “It’s a matter of re-proving themselves. They have to get better than they were last year.”
Albertson’s Wing T offense is loaded. The league’s offensive most valuable player, senior running back Preston Rhodes, returns, but he has plenty of help. Junior Daniel Buck and seniors Quinton Reese, Tyler Condon and Austin Allen also return. As many as eight players, including the quarterback, will carry the ball.
Albertson loves dividing the running game by as many players as possible. Less chance teams can key on any one player.
“We’ll play all of those guys on defense, too, so they’ll rest on offense and alternate through,” Albertson said.
As deep as the Tigers are on offense, Albertson believes Timberlake may be best at defense. At least at this point.
Timberlake returns nine starters on defense. Throw in a returning starter from two years ago and the Tigers have 10 experienced players.
So it’s obvious why Timberlake is heavily favored in the IML. But Albertson believes the league, which has been substantially down in recent seasons, will be much improved.
Bonners Ferry has a talented senior class and Kellogg returns a quarterback who started as a sophomore.
“All the schools have good numbers and talent,” Albertson said.
Timberlake will count on a bulked up nonleague schedule to prepare for the postseason. The Tigers will play all three Inland Empire League 4A teams along with 2A power Grangeville and Colville from Washington’s Great Northern League.