Columbia/Inchelium one of the teams to beat

Columbia-Inchelium, in its second season as a combined Class B-8 football team, should be one of the teams to beat in the Northeast 1B North this fall. The Timberwolves, 7-4 last season after finishing the 2010 campaign with a quarterfinal loss to then second-ranked Cusick, lost significantly to graduation. But there is enough returning talent to pretty much guarantee that Columbia-Inchelium will be a factor in the league race once again. “We have 10 kids who played last season,” said longtime Columbia High head coach and Timberwolves coach, Chuck Wyborney. “We’ve got some kids who can play, but athletically, this may not be the best group I’ve had, but it’s certainly an intelligent group overall and a great group of kids. The kids get along really well, are working hard and looking forward to getting the season started.” Republic visits Columbia-Inchelium will open the season on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Hunters against what looks to be vastly improved Republic. There are 15 players out from Columbia and eight more from Inchelium. Key returning players for the Timberwolves: junior 6-0, 170-pound lineman William Simmons; fellow lineman Joey Biggs, a 5-8, 200-pound senior; tight end Tyler Gleave, a big 6-3, 240-pound senior; coach Wyborney’s son, junior quarterback Dustin Wyborney, a 6-1, 190-pounder, and fullback Nick Hill, a 6-1, 190-pound junior. Players who have been around the program, possess some game experience and are expected to contribute: lineman Paul Flett, a 5-11, 260-pound senior; running back Marvin Reyes, a 5-8, 160-pound senior; quarterback Thomas Cohen, a 5-11, 215-pound sophomore; 5-11, 140-pound sophomore Kurtis McDowell, and 5-6, 140-pound senior Ken Piper. Speed to burn Key newcomer this fall appears to be speedster Dominic Marquez (5-10, 150 pounds). The senior is the team’s fastest player and will be counted on heavily to pick up yardage in the Timberwolves’ backfield. He was the runner-up in the State 1B 200 meters. Marquez hasn’t played since he was a sophomore. Marquez doesn’t have enough practices in yet and will miss the first two games. Wyborney said that at this point anyway, the Timberwolves don’t appear to have a featured-type back that will get the majority of the calls and carries. “Most years, we have had stud backs,” Wyborney said, adding that “we have some good kids, but I don’t think we have an every down kind of back. We’ve got about four good backs…we’ll do it by committee.” What Wyborney and his staff of Brian Myers and Tom Berg do have is the physically largest team they’ve had. There is some girth this season. “We have more size than we have ever had,” Wyborney said. Whether that size will be an advantage in the most rigorous eight-man league in the state is anybody’s guess. “We hope to have a great fall and some excitement,” Wyborney added. AROUND THE LEAGUE Cusick, on a roll the past three seasons and one of the top two or three eight-man squads in the state, lost heavily to graduation last spring, but the Panthers still figure to be a handful. Then there is Almira/Coulee-Hartline. The Warriors are loaded in the so-called skill positions and may be the best eight-man team in the state this fall, although coastal power Lummi (Bellingham) might have something to say about that. “ACH still has some really good skill kids…they lost a lot of linemen,” Wyborney said. “But they’ll be really good. And Cusick lost some good athletes, but they will still be good.” Wyborney figures that the Northeast 1B could be as wide open as it’s been in years. “I think there will be a lot of close games,” added Wyborney, who thinks second-year program Northport should be tougher. Ditto for Wilbur-Creston. Northport under Don Fox should be improved “I think that Northport will be greatly improved and Selkirk, while they lost a lot of kids, probably has the best running back in the league.” Wellpinit has enough athletes to make things interesting and Curlew will likely continue to struggle on the football field. OUTLOOK Columbia-Inchelium will be in the mix like they always are. The Timberwolves are too well coached not to be a factor when push comes to shove. “It comes down to how much we progress and who steps up. We have to make sure we’re ready to play,” Wyborney said. ROSTER Seniors— Justin Singer, 5-10, 180, Off/Def. Tyler Gleave, 6-3, 240, G/LB Marvin Reyes, 5-8, 160, RB/CB Paul Flett, 5-11, 260, G/NG Joey Biggs, 5-8, 200, C/NG Ken Piper, 5-6, 140, E/DE Ron Kheel, 6-0, 225, G/DE Dominic Marquez, 5-9, 165, RB/CB Juniors— Sam LeaderCharge, 6-0, 160, E/CB Nick Hill, 5-10, 165, RB/LB Dustin Wyborney, 6-1, 190, QB/CB William Simmons, 6-0, 170, G/LB Dustin Elliott, 5-9, 155, C/LB Makaleh McCoy, 5-10, 165, RB/DB Sophomores— Mataeo Silk, 5-4, 155, RB/LB Kurtis McDowell, 5-11, 140, E/CB Jacob Dite, 5-7, 200, C/NG Thomas Cohen, 5-11, 215, E/DE Ethan Renolds, 5-10, 240, G/NG Eric Hooper, 5-10, 225, G/DE Bradon Allen Freshmen— Quenton Holford, Roder Finley, Noah Zehtmer Josh Flett, 5-10, 230, RB/LB SCHEDULE Sept.2—Republic at Hunters, 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9—At Wilbur-Creston, 7 p.m. Sept. 16—At Northport, 7 p.m. Sept. 23—ACH at Inchelium, 3 p.m. Sept. 30—at Selkirk, 7 p.m. Oct. 7—Cusick at Hunters, 3 p.m. Oct. 14—Odessa-Harrington at Inchelium, 3 Oct. 21—Curlew at Hunters, 3 p.m. Oct. 28—At Wellpinit, 3 p.m. Nov. 4—Crossover NE North vs. South