Conference: 1AD2 White Star League
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Monty Moddrell
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: Assistant at Lewis County
Record Last Year: 4-4
State Titles: None
Danny Parker, G/LB, 12
Cade Webster, WR/CB, 12
Jimmy Barnett, FB/LB, 12
Landon Wahl, QB, 12
Brendan Nelson, RB/LB, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Jimmy Barnett, All-League
Brendan Nelson, All-League
Key Players lost from last year:
Ray Inglet, OL/DL
Asa Grobey, OL/DL
Garrett Nelson, DE/WR
Photo By: Clayton Bunt - #17 Brendan Nelson
Incoming impact players:
KJ Carpenter, WR/CB, 12
Oskar Grobey, OL, 11
Written By: Will Hoenike
A third-year starter at quarterback. A returning running back who ran for nearly 2,000 yards and twenty touchdowns. A returning fullback who has produced all over the field, wherever he’s been asked to play during his career.
With returning firepower like that, why is it that the Lewis County Eagles are being tabbed by folks in 1A Division 2 circles as a “darkhorse” versus a legitimate title contender?
For the most part, consider the league. The Eagles are in the White Star League, which features perennial powers Kendrick and Deary.
“Well, it probably does not come as a surprise, per se, but even with Deary and Kendrick graduating a number of seniors last year, both of those teams will still be very good,” said third-year Lewis County head coach Monty Moddrell. “They both have quality programs developed and, as you know, just seem to reload every year.”
High praise, indeed, but the fine people of Kendrick and Deary are both acutely aware of what Lewis County – a co-operative football program between Nezperce and Highland of Craigmont – is bringing to the table this season and how they’re a very real threat in the White Star League.
And it starts in the backfield. Landon Wahl, the senior quarterback, returns for his third season under center. There aren’t many things an 8-man defense can throw at him that he probably hasn’t seen before. Likewise, there’s the versatile and underrated Jimmy Barnett at fullback, leading the way for the explosive junior, Brendan Nelson, at running back. Cade Webster also returns at receiver and Danny Parker returns to lead the Eagles’ offensive line. Senior receiver KJ Carpenter returns this fall after missing most of 2017 with an injury and junior lineman Oskar Grobey is expected to handle the snapping duties as the team’s center.
As a team, Lewis County averaged 39 points per game last season. It would not be a surprise to see that number increase in 2018.
A number that Moddrell and his assistant, Ken Hart, want to see reduced this fall is on the other side of the scoreboard – the points-against column. The Eagles surrendered 39 points per game (analytic-based minds would not be surprised to learn that Lewis County’s final record last fall was 4-4) and one of the main culprits was big plays.
“The teams that killed us last season had very few offensive plays called but sure put up points on us,” Moddrell noted, singling out a loss to Kendrick, where the Tigers scored touchdowns on multiple offensive plays in succession. “This cannot happen if we are going to be successful in our league.”
And Moddrell doesn’t expect it to happen again with a group led by Barnett and Nelson at linebacker and Webster and Carpenter in the secondary.
“We are a faster defensive unit on the whole over last season’s group,” he observed. “We have been making adjustments in terms of alignment and assignments to make the best use of our personnel.”
It’s a deep league and the depth is often overlooked because of how strong Kendrick and Deary have been in recent years. The Eagles will face those two teams in back-to-back weeks in mid-September and, while popular opinion suggests those could be make-or-break weeks for Lewis County, the team will still have Timberline, Lakeside, Kootenai and Mullan on the league slate once those two games have been completed. Lewis County will be challenged this season but the team appears to have all the pieces to be up to that challenge and strongly compete for a spot in the 1A Division 2 state playoffs.
“We are returning quite a few guys who have played together for the last few years and I’m excited to see these young men take ownership of their team,” Moddrell concluded. “The football culture at Lewis County is changing and these gentlemen are an integral part of that shift. The sky is the limit when the culture is in the right place and I believe that is where we are headed. It should make for a fun, competitive 2018 season.”