It would be a lot easier if I could pick 12.
Or even 10.
Like last fall, I sat out to pick the five must-see prep football games in the region this season. With no restraint, I came up with 12.
So I thought I’d expand the list to 10 this season. But then I realized I was copping out.
Upon further review – much, much further review – I trimmed the list to five.
Coeur d’Alene vs. Ferris, Sept. 12, Albi Stadium: You don’t have to be a diehard fan to know this is perhaps the one matchup many have wanted to see for the last four years.
In that span, Ferris captured a state championship and Coeur d’Alene has earned three state titles and played in four straight finals.
So when Greater Spokane League administrators decided to open up their schedules, this was the one game I wanted to see come together. Both Ferris coach Jim Sharkey and CdA coach Shawn Amos wanted this matchup.
Sure enough, the Saxons and Vikings will finally face off. Neither team is as strong as it was at its respective peak in the last four years, but this should be an entertaining game nonetheless.
Both teams have similarities. First, and perhaps most obvious, is both want to play fast. The Vikings, in particular, want to run as many plays as possible. The Saxons believe playing fast works to their advantage because they believe their conditioning is second to none.
This should be a barometer of where each team is at and how much better each can become.
Shadle Park vs. Ferris, Oct. 10, Albi: The teams shared the GSL championship last year although Ferris won the head-to-head matchup.
The Saxons were the only team – until the Highlanders ran into that buzz saw called Bellevue in the 3A state semifinals – to contain standout quarterback Brett Rypien and company.
So this is a rematch of sorts. Shadle desires a win in the worst way – as sort of a validation of the upward movement of its program.
Had the league not changed its format this year, this game would have gone far in deciding the champion.
Freeman at Colville, Oct. 10: These teams met in a season-opening nonleague game last year with the Scotties prevailing 14-7.
It launched Freeman on its way to a 14-0 record and the State 1A championship.
Colville dropped from 2A to 1A this year and the teams find themselves in the Northeast A League. This matchup should decide the league title.
Freeman all but returns its team intact. Colville returns a savvy team as well.
Lake City at Coeur d’Alene, Oct. 17: This would be a game to see if both teams were winless. As it is, this should be the best matchup between intracity rivals in years.
It should decide the league title and all important first-round bye in the state playoffs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams are undefeated going into the showdown – though CdA has a few more hurdles to navigate than LC going forward.
Both teams feature some of the best skill players in the region.
The game should be played in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Mt. Spokane vs. Shadle Park, Oct. 31, Albi: This game will determine the 3A champion, no doubt.
The Highlanders handled the Wildcats twice last year – once in league and once in the state playoffs. Mt. Spokane welcomes back more experience, and the Wildcats, with their speed, will give the Highlanders all sorts of fits.
And that kid named Rypien will do the same to the Wildcats.