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Honkers, Cougars hope for best

The Lakeview and Illinois Valley football teams hope to earn one of the two automatic state playoff berths up for grabs in the four-school Southern Cascade League.

They'll be challenged by unanimous league favorite Cascade Christian and St. Mary's, which tied with the Honkers for second place in the SCL coaches’ preseason poll.

Cascade Christian went 7-4 overall and 3-0 in conference play last winter, falling to Vale in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

The top two squads from the SCL will be placed in the 16-team state bracket.

The Crusaders were 4-5 and 1-2 last fall.

At Lakeview, the Honkers are inexperienced at several of the key offensive positions but feature returners on the offensive line in Michael McCulley (6-foot, 265 pounds), Alex Decker (6-2, 220) and Jose Salas (6-0, 205).

Noah Steward, Michael Douglas and David Arcularius are all returning receivers.

All six of those players will serve key roles on defense, head coach Rusty Zysett said.

Lakeview went 5-5 and 2-1 in league in 2015.

At Cave Junction, Illinois Valley's offense will be led by seniors Ross Gaynor (quarterback) and guards Paul Binker and Jacob Solomon.

Watch for junior linebacker Chase Nelson, sophomore free safety Caleb Hess and senior outside linebacker Skylar McLanahan on defense.

The Cougars finished 1-7 overall, 0-3 in league last year. Bruce Reece returns as head coach.