Head Coach: Doug Napierala
Record Last Year: 2-6
State Titles: None
Gage Maitland, QB, 12
Triston Usdrowski, WR, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Gage Maitland, All-League
Key Players lost from last year:
Zach Dupree, OL/LB
Andrew Whipple, RB/LB
Photo By: Sherry Leitz - #22 Gage Maitland
Written By: Will Hoenike
The 2017 Kootenai Warriors began the season with back-to-back wins before a tough 6-point loss to rival Lakeside. Then, injuries derailed a once-promising season as Doug Napierala’s short-handed bunch finished the season at 2-6.
After totaling 112 points in those two season-opening wins, the Warriors managed just 68 points the rest of the way and the team will certainly look to improve upon that. Despite losing key running back Andrew Whipple and offensive lineman Zach Dupree to graduation, Napierala has two very good offensive playmakers returning to his lineup in senior quarterback Gage Maitland, an All-White Star honoree last fall, and senior receiver Triston Usdrowski.
The pair formed a dangerous combination in 2017, hooking up for two touchdowns against Lewis County, three against Mullan and two more against Lakeside – seven touchdown passes between the two in the season’s first three weeks. The pair was especially potent in the team’s win over Mullan as Maitland threw for 257 yards and four scores, three of which went to Usdrowski. In fact, Usdrowski only caught three balls in the contest, covering 156 yards … and all ended up in the end zone.
The Warriors open the season on August 24 on the road against 1A Division 1 Troy before coming home the following week to open White Star play against the Clark Fork Wampus Cats.
Depth has been an issue in recent years for the Kootenai program – the team played with just eight total players against state power Deary last season – and will be critical again this season. Napierala’s players work hard and there is talent on the field but the team must dodge the injury bug.
If they do, they’ve proven in the past that there’s enough talent on the field to compete in the White Star League.