Head Coach: Josh Leighton
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Record Last Year: 6-4
State Titles: 1979
Tui Moliga Jr., RB/LB, 12
Kendall Leighton, WR/DB, 12
JJ Reuben, OL/DL, 12
Pox Young, DL, 12
Anthony Spencer, DL, 12
Dom Williamson, LB, 11
Photo By: Clayton Bunt - #5 Tui Moliga Jr.
Written By: Will Hoenike
The Lapwai Wildcats come into the 2018 season gunning for their fourth consecutive trip to the 1A Division 1 state playoffs. Head coach Josh Leighton returns six players who received postseason All-White Pine accolades, so there is talent there to make such a push.
The Wildcats start 2018 the way they ended 2017 – staring across the field at the powerful Oakley Hornets. The Hornets knocked Lapwai out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals last fall. This fall, the two teams will square off in a big, non-league game in Lapwai to open the season on August 24. The winner of that contest will have a big-time, quality win under its collective belt right out of the gates.
Lapwai will be led on offense by the potent one-two punch of senior running back Tui Moliga and senior receiver Kendall Leighton, who are two of the top offensive players in all of 1A Division 1 football in Idaho. Leighton, in fact, was named the White Pine’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.
The Wildcat defense struggled down the stretch last season, surrendering over 50 points in three of the team’s final four games, including its playoff loss against Oakley. However, the pieces are in place for a top-shelf defense in 2018. The team returns all-league defensive linemen JJ Reuben, Pox Young and Anthony Spencer in front of Moliga and Dom Williamson at linebacker as well as Leighton at defensive back.
The White Pine, year in and year out, is among the deepest leagues in all of Idaho 8-man football. Lapwai is 15-5 in White Pine play over the past three seasons, a testament to the talent in the program. Another test awaits. Prairie and Genesee look tough once again this fall while many feel Clearwater Valley is a team to keep an eye on. The Wildcats face those three teams in a four-week stretch between September 7 and October 5.
Faring well during that stretch is likely the key to Lapwai making it four straight years of postseason football for the Wildcats.