Fresh story lines in an old rivalry

AP

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Lewiston quarterback Tyson Wallace looks to escape a tackle by a slew of Clarkston defenders during the first quarter of last year’s rivalry game between the Bengals and Bantams. They’ll meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Clarkston’s Adams Field.

When the Lewiston and Clarkston prep football teams square off this week, here are seven story lines to keep an eye on.

The game will take place Friday at 7 p.m. at Adams Field.

Can anyone slow down Lewiston quarterback Tyson Wallace? - Lewiston coach Matt Pancheri can use plenty of adjectives to describe his quarterback - but he'll often resort to two favorites.

The latest word Pancheri uses frequently to describe Wallace is "accurate" - a fitting description for a player who completed 18 of 23 passes in his team's last game and is 30-for-38 in his past two games.

Another favorite word of Pancheri's to describe Wallace is "slippery."

"Just when you think he's about to get sacked," Pancheri said of Wallace, "he'll slip away."

And that's perhaps when Wallace is most dangerous.

Will Tru Allen do something amazing for Clarkston? - Clarkston wideout Tru Allen has plenty of ways he can hurt a defense. He can burn DBs with his speed, and specializes in reeling in jump balls - an Achilles' heel for Lewiston earlier this year.

While Brycen Bye will be the first to tell you that "Tru has done some really good things," Clarkston's coach stopped short of putting his team's hopes squarely upon Allen's back.

"Key for us," Bye said, "is having a couple guys that'll step up and make those big plays."

Can Lewiston keep up its defensive renaissance? - The Bengals shut out a Washington Class 3A opponent two weeks ago. And in the second half of their most recent outing, the Bengals held their opponent to negative-seven rushing yards (yes, you read that correctly: Wenatchee moved backward).

So what's been the key to this shift, after the Bengals gave up 34 points in their season opener? What's allowed them to turn over a new leaf?

To hear Lewiston defensive end Jason Hanchett tell it, the difference was simple: his team simply upped its effort.

Hanchett has led the Bengals in tackles their past two games, and was one of three players with a sack last week against Wenatchee - the other two being linebacker Treyce Bradley and defensive end Connor Stamper.

Pancheri also credited two other players with providing a defensive boost for the Bengals: Patrick Schlangen and Kristofer Carpenter.

The crowd - Jay Henry views this rivalry from a unique perspective. After playing for Clarkston High's football team and graduating in 1965, Henry went on to become a teacher at Lewiston High - and eventually, the Bengals' head football coach.

What does Henry remember from this game?

"When I played, I always was so jacked out of my mind, that's all I thought about for the whole week," Henry said. "I think if I could have settled myself down, I could have been more consistent."

Henry took a far different tack as the Bengals' coach for 12 years, from the mid-70s to the late '80s.

"I tried to almost downplay it," Henry said of the rivalry, "because you don't have to jack the kids up that week - they're plenty jacked."

The familiarity - When Pancheri watches film with his players, he'll usually refer to opponents by their uniform number.

But as he watches scouting tape of Clarkston, his players will often call the Bantams by their first names.

"Obviously, that's a big part of this game," Pancheri said.

Lewiston's penalties - Lewiston went scoreless in the first quarter the past two weeks thanks to a familiar issue: penalties.

They weren't confined to the first quarter, however.

Lewiston finished with 140 yards of penalties in its last game.

Clarkston's ability to bounce back - Stalling offensively, Clarkston got blown out by Grangeville last Friday.

But Bye came away encouraged.

"Our guys never quit," Bye said. "And they played really hard.

"Not every game are you going to play your best. And Grangeville, those guys, they play really tough. ... So the two pieces of it, where we did not play good, and they're a good football team, you put that together, and it usually doesn't end well."

Notes - Tickets cost $5 apiece and can be purchased one of two ways - either at Lewiston and Clarkston high schools, until noon Friday, or at the gate of Adams Field beginning at 5:45 p.m. the evening of the game. Clarkston fans are asked to park in the north lot while Lewiston fans are directed to park on the other side.

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Edelman may be contacted at bedelman@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2277.

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