The Friday night lights are uponsus, which means it’s time for dynamic runs, highlight-reel catches and, of course, lots of big games.
Here are four of the biggest contests slated for the fall prep football season.
Note: If your team isn’t on the list, fret not. This is just a snapshot of some of the standout games.
1) Pullman at Moscow, Sept. 20
Moscow coach Phil Helbling would be the first to tell you that the Border Battle hasn’t been much of a rivalry lately.
The last time Moscow beat Pullman? A 42-9 stomping in 2011 — when some of the squads’ current players were just out of kindergarten.
“It hasn’t been much of a rivalry in the last few years, just to be completely honest,” Moscow coach Phil Helbling said. “Obviously we’re trying to change that and get out on the other side of the loss column there.”
With Moscow returning Inland Empire League MVP Chad Redinger at quarterback and a squad that’s much deeper than last year’s team, the Bears should put up much more of a battle than last year’s 48-7 beatdown at Pullman.
But don’t sleep on the Greyhounds. Led by all-league wide receiver Isaiah Strong — a three-star prospect by 247Sports — Pullman is deep too, and fresh off a 7-3 season (Moscow was 3-6 last year).
“I think that’s going to be our first really tough game,” Pullman coach David Cofer said. “I think they’re loaded this year. I expect to see a really difficult test for us, especially going over to their place.”
2) Kendrick at Deary, Oct. 11
Eight-man football games may have fewer players on the field, but the crowd size can at times rival the large-school contests.
That’s evident by the yearly Kendrick-Deary game, in which hundreds of fans line the sidelines in near freezing temperatures to watch the Tigers and Mustangs battle.
Kendrick coach Zane Hobart last year said the towns’ coffee shops and gas stations are hubs for talk of the rivalry in the week leading up to the game.
Kendrick won last year’s game 42-14.
“The Deary game is always circled,” Hobart said last month. “It’s circled right now. When the schedule gets released, everyone knows when it is.”
3) Pullman at Clarkston, Oct. 11
These Great Northern League rivals have gone back and forth more in basketball than football in recent years, but that doesn’t mean this game isn’t one of the most hyped and heated contests on the docket.
Pullman’s Strong and Clarkston’s Tru Allen are two players who should light up the sidelines for their squads and could end up in pivotal one-on-one situations against each other.
The Greyhounds triumphed last season 43-14.
“That’s a tough place to play,” Cofer said. “It’ll be right in the middle of our season. We’ll definitely know who we are at that point, but I feel that’s probably going to be our biggest game this year down there.”
4) Clarkston at Lewiston, Sept. 20
While not a Palouse game, the Clarkston-Lewiston rivalry is among the biggest in the Quad Cities.
Legend has it Meriwether Lewis tossed a fish over the head of William Clark on the bank of the Snake River in the first edition of the Lewis(ton)-Clark(ston) football rivalry more than 200 years ago.
OK, that’s not true, but the Lewison-Clarkston football rivalry has still been played since at least 1901 and it remains the biggest rivalry in the area, right along with the Moscow-Pullman game.
Lewiston owns a commanding edge at 80-42-7, but this is as good a year as any for the Bantams to strike back. Clarkston will be eager to avenge a 28-0 loss last season on their home turf.
“I told the guys, against Lewiston, where there’s so much energy and emotion, you can’t let things snowball,” Clarkston coach Brycen Bye said after last year’s loss. “And that’s exactly what happened.”
Lewiston shut out Clarkston the last two seasons. Don’t expect Clarkson to allow a goose egg three years in a row.