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Greg Lee: You heard it here first: Coeur d’Alene wins state football title

Watch out for Coeur d’Alene  once quarterback Colson Yankoff returns from injury. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Watch out for Coeur d’Alene once quarterback Colson Yankoff returns from injury. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

I’m starting my last fall in this corner. I’ll write more about my time here in a few weeks.

You have questions, but I’m sure the most burning one is this – which area high school football team has the best chance to capture a state championship you ask?

Easy answer. The one that lost in California last Friday.

I’ll make a bold prediction – perhaps the boldest I’ve made in 32-plus years here, the last eight years covering eastern Washington and North Idaho preps.

Since I’m outta here by Oct. 2 (in case you haven’t heard, I accepted a buyout offer), I won’t be here in late November to own up to the prediction if I’m wrong. But I don’t think I’ll be wrong. It’s almost stone-cold lock.

Here it is – Coeur d’Alene will win a state title.

This will be coach Shawn Amos’ best team. Certainly, it won’t have the best record. That belongs to the 2012 team when the Vikings went 12-0 and beat Eagle 49-28 in the final at Boise State University. That was the game when senior quarterback Chad Chalich took off a walking boot and played with a broken foot.

I so much enjoyed watching Chalich play, and he had a pretty good wide receiver in future Idaho Vandal Deon Watson.

When senior quarterback Colson Yankoff returns, the 2017 Vikings could be untouchable. In my humble opinion, Yankoff is the all-time best CdA quarterback – and there have been some good ones.

You have John Friesz, who needs no introduction, Duane Halliday, Chalich, Gunnar Amos, Austin Lee and now Yankoff.

Some of the former Vikings had similar skills that Yankoff possesses. But he has the entire package. He’s a dual threat. He has speed, accuracy when he throws, knowledge, savvy – you name it. He carries a 4.0 grade-point average and will graduate early so he can enroll at Washington in January.

I’d be surprised if Yankoff plays Friday when CdA visits Central Valley in the Bears’ season opener. He might return the following week when CdA has its home opener against Mead. It could be the week after.

It’ll likely take Yankoff a week or two to shake off some rust. But come October, watch out. The Vikings showed in their loss to Folsom last week that they have some players who don’t quit no matter the circumstances (read playing with a third- and fourth-string QB).

CdA isn’t just a one-man team. It features other athletes who’ll go on and play in college. There’s receiver Cole Ramseyer, who could be a hybrid H back in college, running back/linebacker Caleb Beggerly and wide receiver/defensive back Kyler Prendergast.

So since I’m making bold predictions I’ll say Amos, in his 21st year at CdA, will make this his last. He told me years ago that he wasn’t a lifetime coach, that he wouldn’t coach until he retired from teaching.

Amos has the perfect out. His son, Gunnar, just transferred from Idaho to Idaho State, where in three days he was elevated to No. 2 in the battle for the starting quarterback position. Amos and his wife, Kelly, will travel to most of ISU’s games this season. Getting to Pocatello is much more difficult than the 85-mile drive to Moscow.

Returning from those games and having to jump right back into coaching is going to be a challenge. They’ll have two more years of traveling to ISU games after this season with Gunnar most likely earning the starting job at some point.

But I digress. I look for good things from Gonzaga Prep, Mead, Mt. Spokane, Shadle Park, West Valley, East Valley, Colville, Odessa and Almira/Coulee-Hartline.

In the end, though, CdA should have the best season.

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