Written By: Will Hoenike
The Clark Fork Wampus Cats have been consistent over the past several seasons, winning between three and five games per season every year since 2012. Unfortunately for the small, north Idaho community, the Wampus Cats haven’t been able to punch through to the top tier in their division.
But good news is on the horizon for 2019. After a handful of years competing as one league, the White Pine League (District 2) and North Star League (District 1) have split back into two leagues and the North Star will get a guaranteed berth in to the 1A Division 2 state playoffs this fall.
Veteran head coach Brian Arthun’s team has been close in the past – missing the postseason by one game in 2015, 2017, and 2018 – when Kendrick and Deary of the White Pine League claimed both of the playoff berths from the combined league.
Arthun has two of the North Star’s top players back, starting with reigning MVP Cameron Garcia. The junior quarterback combined for 25 touchdowns on offense last season (13 rushing, 12 passing) and had three more on interception returns on defense. The Wampus Cats also welcome back versatile senior Josh Constantin as well. He played all over the field as a junior, along the offensive and defensive lines as well as spending some time in the backfield. He led the team in sacks in 2018 and figures to be one of the top players in the North Star again in 2019.
The schedule for Clark Fork took a hit in mid-August when it was announced that rival Kootenai was canceling its football season. All of the North Star teams scheduled home-and-homes with each other (1A Division 1 Wallace is also playing in the North Star this year to cut down on travel costs) so, instead of eight games, the Wampus Cats currently have six games on the schedule. Wallace is ineligible for postseason play this season so one of three teams – Clark Fork, Lakeside, or Mullan/St. Regis – will qualify for the 1A Division 2 state playoffs.
The last North Star team to play postseason football was actually Kootenai in 2013. The Warriors expect to play again in 2020 but, in the meantime, it’ll be a league rival that will break that drought this fall by representing the league in November.