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Lakeland and Sandpoint should battle for IEL 4A title

Lakeland or Sandpoint?

Most agree one of those two teams will win the IEL 4A championship. Ah, but which one? The answer should come when the rivals collide Oct. 10 in Rathdrum.

Defending champion Lakeland seems to have the pieces to repeat but the Hawks need to stay healthy.

“We have a tight group of seniors that have a lot of varsity experience,” said Hawks coach Tim Kiefer, whose team advanced to the state playoffs in 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Sandpoint should have an athletic crew with a turnout of roughly 130 and strong attendance at summer conditioning workouts.

“You have to play the games,” Bulldogs coach Satini Puailoa said. “On paper it should be us battling each other.”

The 4A state playoffs have been expanded to 12 teams, giving the IEL two berths and an outside shot at three.

Hawks soaring

Lakeland’s wing-T offense will feature some familiar names, including senior quarterback Tyrel Derrick, senior running back Tuekota Tate-Vandever and senior tight end Brian Howell.

Derrick was the 2013 IEL offensive newcomer of the year. The 5-foot-5, 170-pound Tate-Vandever, who also sees time at linebacker, and Howell, a contributor in the secondary, are coming off All-IEL seasons. Cade Coffey is one of the best kickers in the region.

Linebacker Chris Washburn and defensive back Kenny Cooper, both returning all-league selections, are defensive cornerstones.

“We have a great group of hard-working, program kids that will be fun to coach and just be around,” Kiefer said.

Bulldogs chasing title

Sandpoint boasts returning All-IEL selections Nate Loutzenhiser (quarterback), Bill Webber (OL) and Quinn Pearlstein (LB).

“Can we win the next-level game?” Puailoa said. “Lakeland has one of its best senior classes. I think we have four or five 5A teams, plus East Valley, on the schedule. Can we line up against those guys and not just compete but can we get one, two or three of them?”

Other names to watch are WR Matt Timothy, RB Kyle Perry, WR Wyatt Cox, WR/DB Davin Norris and LB Tyler Harris.

“We have three starters back on the offensive line and a number of guys that have been in the system two years,” Puailoa said.

1. Sandpoint2. Lakeland3. Moscow