Sandpoint football players stand out at Spokane Showcase

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(Photo courtesy of RYAN KNOWLES) Whitworth football head coach Rod Sandberg (left) poses with the MVPs of the 2019 Spokane Showcase, who are (from left to right): Bothell High School’s Christian Galvan, Wenatchee High School’s Riley Kunz, Kamiakin High School’s Tanner Sullins, Sandpoint High School’s Brandon Casey, Mead High School’s Ryan Blair and Coeur d’Alene High School’s Colbey Nosworthy. Coaches from 10 colleges were on hand for the June 8 event.

A handful of Sandpoint football’s present and future leaders embraced the opportunity to show their skills at the Spokane Showcase this past Saturday at Whitworth University.

The Bulldogs sent six players to the pad-free, drill-heavy event: rising seniors offensive lineman Brandon Casey, two-way athlete Christian Niemela, quarterback Jaxon Petit, offensive lineman Connor Hutchings, plus rising junior running back Braden Kappen and sophomore linebacker Tag Benefield. Sandpoint head coach Ryan Knowles affirmed, via text, that all six performed well at the showcase.

Casey, the anchor of Sandpoint’s run-heavy offense, took home MVP honors for the best lineman at the camp, adding one more accolade in a busy month on the recruiting trail. Casey has offers from Division I programs Montana State, Idaho State and the University of Idaho.

At the Spokane Showcase, Casey’s fellow senior Christian Niemela — a wide receiver/safety and a kick returner on special teams — picked up his second collegiate offer from the University of Puget Sound; he was previously offered by Division III Pacific Lutheran.

Speaking of football athletes who moonlight as track stars (or vice-versa): Less than a month removed from a breakout track and field season, Kappen was the second-fastest man at the camp. The rising junior was second only to Bothell High School’s (Wash.) rising senior Christian Galvan, who has already fielded several D1 offers. Although the group ran a 40-yard dash, official times were not available.

Over 100 athletes from Washington and Idaho signed up for the Spokane Showcase.

Coaches from Division I schools Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, University of Idaho, Central Washington, Carroll College, University of Puget Sound, Rocky Mountain College and Simon Fraser University were on hand for the event.

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