Charlie Shepherd Jr. is one of approximately 47 students in grades nine through 12 at Salmon River High in Riggins.
As the student body president, Shepherd is responsible for keeping the vending machine fully stocked.
And as the only four-year starter on the eight-man football team, he is in charge of calling offensive plays for the Savages.
Hes probably called 90 percent of the plays himself this year in the huddle, coach Charlie Shepherd Sr. said. Thats been a real pleasure for me, both as a father to watch your boy out there having that kind of impact on the game, and then as a coach its taken a huge load off me. At game time I can be watching whats going on out there instead of having to worry about the next play to call.
Shepherd Jr.s play-calling will take center stage this week when Salmon River (9-2) takes on Lighthouse Christian (9-2) at 5 p.m. Friday at Eagle High in the 1A Division II state championship game.
The two teams met in last years quarterfinals, with Lighthouse Christian a private school of about 100 students in Twin Falls winning 48-0 in Riggins. The Lions went on to win the schools first state title in any sport.
This year we are not looking past them like we were last year. We didnt have our heads on right last year. We were looking past that first playoff game, taking it for granted, Shepherd Jr. said. This time its the state championship and we know what to expect, so I think we are mentally ready this time.
The younger Shepherd one of two seniors on the team is among six returning starters from last years squad. Jimmy Shepherd is a sophomore receiver/linebacker.
Shepherd Jr. has started at quarterback off and on, but now is playing full time at receiver and safety. Junior Leighton Vander Esch has taken over at quarterback.
He is so effective at receiver and Leighton is a better pocket passer. Leightons got a stronger arm, hes 6-4 and he can stand in there and see the field better, Shepherd Sr. said. With Charlie playing receiver, theres somebody out there that we know is going to go up and get that ball no matter what.
In his second year as a starter, Vander Esch has completed 121-of-197 passes for 1,814 yards and 25 TDs, and also leads the Savages in rushing with 820 yards and 18 TDs. Shepherd Jr. has 1,113 receiving yards and 14 TDs along with 667 rushing yards and two more TDs.
Lighthouse Christian also returns several key players, including quarterback Logan Bosma (more than 2,000 passing yards and 42 TDs) and senior wide receiver Eli Berndt (1,227 yards, 21 TDs).
Neither team is expecting to run away with the title Friday night.
We were pretty unknown last year and may have surprised some people, Lighthouse Christian coach John van Vliet said. ... We know that the team we played last year, a lot of those kids are returning and they also have another full year of experience under their belts.