Head Coach: Chris Dohrman
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: Lakeside assistant; middle school head coach
Record Last Year: 2-7
State Titles: None
Jayson Hall DB/WR
Vincent Howard RB/LB
Lazarus Iron Cloud OL/DL
Gavin Rhea OL/DE
Tucker Sanchez QB/DB
Devin Arroyo FB/LB
Returning Players with Honors:
Jayson Hall, All White Star League
Written By: Will Hoenike
With another year of experience and a revamped postseason structure in the 1A Division 2 classification, there is reason for added optimism in Plummer, the hometown of the Lakeside Knights.
“We have only lost three seniors from last year, so we should have a very experienced team this year,” head coach Chris Dohrman noted. “We have a good group of returners and, if we can improve on what we have done last year, we should have some success.”
The Knights are coming off a 2-7 season in what was the White Star League, but District 1 and District 2 have re-split so District 1 (the North Star League), featuring Lakeside, Clark Fork, Mullan/St. Regis, and Kootenai will get a spot at the postseason table again – and it should be a tough battle for that spot.
“We need to execute our offense better this year, maintain blocks and improve overall skills on offense,” Dohrman said. “Defensively, we need to improve tackling, coverage, and focus on keeping everything in front of us.”
A return to health will help on all fronts for the Knights. At one point last season Lazarus Iron Cloud, the team’s top linemen, was pressed into duty at quarterback because of injuries (Iron Cloud threw three touchdowns in a game against Wallace). Starting running back and linebacker Vince Howard missed time with an injury. If those two players are able to stay healthy and stay in their spots on the field, both the offense and the defense in Lakeside improve.
Sophomore Tucker Sanchez should see an expanded role at quarterback this fall. He’s got good weapons in Howard at running back and returning all-league receiver Jayson Hall when Lakeside goes to the air.
“Jayson Hall really stepped up last year as a play maker,” Dohrman said of his senior receiver and defensive back. “Tucker Sanches did a great job as a first-year quarterback and I look for him to improve. Vincent Howard battled injuries last year and should be a big impact player this year.”
Dohrman and assistant coach Butch Nomee have other nice pieces to work with, including FB/LB Devin Arroyo and OL/DE Gavin Rhea.
The Knights’ sixth-year head coach noted the need to keep things in front of his team on defense. The team, on average, allowed nearly 56 points per game. Injuries and a lack of experience from the backups were clearly both key factors, but that number will need to drop a pretty fair amount for the Knights to compete with good teams in Mullan/St. Regis and Clark Fork along with an improving Kootenai team. Dohrman has six returning starters, so the experience concern should be alleviated.
The teams in the North Star League will essentially play a round-robin, home-and-home regular season. The four North Star teams along with 1A Division 1 independent Wallace will all play each other twice, once at home and once away. The top Division 2 North Star team will qualify for the playoffs after sharing postseason berths for the past two seasons with the powerful White Pine League. The White Pine has claimed each playoff spot since Kootenai qualified in 2013.
Could Lakeside be that team to officially break the North Star’s dry spell? The Knights certainly could. They’ve been close a couple of times in recent years. But they’ll face steep competition from the other North Star teams to get there. Staying healthy may be the difference in 2019.