By PAUL DELANEY
The hits now come against opponents for the Medical Lake football team Friday night, Aug. 31 in St. Maries, Idaho.
After three weeks of preseason camp the Cardinals will open their season with a non-league game against the Lumberjacks (1-0) in a series that continues in its third year following Medical Lake's two-year stint as an independent team awaiting reclassification.
“We've got a great opener,” MedicalLake head coach Wes Hobbs said. “This has been a real great series between us and St. Maries; each time it's been a great game.” The Lumberjacks scored on a broken play extra point to win 28-27 in 2010 while the Cards held off the Jacks 20-13 in last year's home opener at Holliday Field.
Five turnovers in the first half helped St. Maries jump to a 35-0 halftime lead over Kellogg Aug. 24. “They put a lickin' on Kellogg,” Hobbs said of the Lumberjacks' eventual 54-7 win.
“This is our week to fine-tune things,” Hobbs said of the run-up to Friday.
Medical Lake will throw a senior-laden, but again a thin-on-numbers roster at St. Maries. As has been the case for a number of years most players will be two-way performers.
Senior quarterback and three-year starter Adam Paulson will direct the team of offense with back up from senior transfer Seth Hansen.
Senior Micah Tappero, who scored the deciding points in last year's upset 15-14 win over Pullman, will start at fullback while Hansen and junior Taylor Masteller operate as halfbacks.
Returning linemen who will make a difference are Harrison Cochran and Marshall Reiber, an O-line, D-line guy too.
Add to the mix a healthy Kasey Kelly who plays in the defensive backfield as well as at wide receiver. Kelly played hurt much of last year, making only to the halfway point before he had to have surgery to repair his knee.
Medical Lake finished last season with a 4-5 record and begins play in the Northeast A League this season. Next Friday's home game, however, is a non-leaguer against Bonners Ferry, 7 p.m. at Holliday Field.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.
Note: Full preview stories for all fall sports will appear in our preview section in the Sept. 13 Cheney Free Press.