Lewis-Clark Valley Loggers prepare for the NCAA
LEWISTON, ID —
Technically, the college football season started last weekend.
But, for the three teams in this area, it starts this weekend.
The Idaho Vandals kick-off Thursday night, and on Saturday, the Washington State Cougars won't be the only team playing.
The Lewis-Clark Valley Loggers are also in action.
And there's something new about this team.
The LC Valley now has an NCAA football team.
This is the first year the Loggers will be playing as an NCAA affiliate for division three.
But, what exactly is an NCAA affiliate?
It means that the Loggers can play some D-III varsity teams.
Fourth year Loggers head coach Jeff Schumacher explains what kind of impact this recognition does for the program.
"It's a big step for this program,” Schumacher said. “We've been playing JVs for the last three years and now we get to step and play a couple varsities. It's a fun situation for us. It's not a whole lot of pressure on us. Nobody expects us to win. We get to go out and just have fun and play loose."
With the new affiliation, the Loggers are starting out the season tough.
This Saturday, LCV are traveling to Forest Grove, Oregon to take on Pacific University.
Then, the following week, they're headed to Chicago to take on Concordia-Chicago University.
Both varsity teams.
But Schumacher seem ready for the challenge.
"Now the kids get to step up and play some varsities. It'll get an idea about where we're at,” Schumacher said. “The varsities will have 125 to 150 kids on the sideline, and we'll have 30. So, it'll look funny but that's the way it looked last year when they had 75 for their JV games."
In order to play for the Loggers, a player must be enrolled at either Lewis-Clark State or Walla Walla Community College.
With the new affiliation, that's means the players are now NCAA student-athletes.
We spoke to players about they feel about this new title.
“It's great. I mean a lot of work has been put into this,” Loggers third year player Lucky Gaskill. “A lot of guys put the work in for this so, seeing some recognition come, being NCAA affiliated is a big step for us."
"It's pretty great,” Loggers fourth year senior quarterback Robert Roth said. “It means the program is taking strides forward which is also a wonderful thing for the program, which is nice. Bob's done a great job, the coaching staff has as well. Means bigger games with some intense competition which is nice.”
And on a team where a quarter of them are from Lewiston, LC Valley native Gaskill seem high on the idea of having college football in the valley.
"It's nice. I feel like it's been a long time coming. It's been a baseball town ever since I can remember,” Gaskill said.
But can football take over as the popular sport in the valley?
"Hopefully,” Gaskill laughed. “I don't think it'll ever take over for baseball, but I think it'll definitely add something for people to come see during the fall."
Kick-off against Pacific is this Saturday at 6 PM.