The first two weeks of the high school football season have been near perfect for Vallivue High running back Jerred Monnier.
With 398 rushing yards and seven of his team’s 12 touchdowns, the Falcons are 2-0 for the first time since 2010.
Vallivue’s continued success — as it rejoins the 4A Southern Idaho Conference after 10 seasons in the 5A SIC — will largely depend on Monnier’s durability.
Such singular dependency might worry other coaches, but not Layne Coffin.
“I see people exchanging their backs all the time, and I think backs have a tendency to get cold and stale on the sideline, and I think that’s when injuries happen,” Coffin said. “I’ve always thought that the more carries a kid gets, the better he gets, because he gets in a good rhythm.”
Coffin has put that theory to the test with many of Monnier’s predecessors.
Drew Wright — who went on to play for Boise State — led the 5A SIC during the 2007 regular season with 2,305 yards and 22 touchdowns on 276 carries. Chase Christoffersen followed Wright in 2008 with a conference-leading 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns on 197 carries.
Since then, a Vallivue running back has finished among the top three in the 5A SIC in five of the past seven seasons.
For some reason, they’ve got this crazy bond going on, and it’s been a good change.
Layne Coffin, Vallivue coach on the team’s best start since 2010
Taking into account Vallivue’s preference for the run — the Falcons finished last in the 5A SIC in passing yards in 2015 — there’s no reason to believe Monnier will be getting the ball any less as the season goes on.
“He’ll have the opportunity to have some big numbers,” Coffin said. “He’s a very elusive back. He’s kind of a blend of Drew and Chase. He’s got some really good moves, and he’s got some good speed. He’s a team player, and he’ll do anything he can.”
Monnier, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior, has accounted for 46 percent of the Falcons’ plays from scrimmage this season. Four other players have combined for 29 carries, 141 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman quarterback Lan Larison has completed 15-of-23 passes for 267 yards and three scores.
Using variations of the wing-T and I-back formations, the Falcons have helped Monnier, an all-5A SIC second-team pick in 2015, thrive with misdirection in the backfield.
“I think after Twin Falls, it really set kind of a high standard for me,” said Monnier, who had 239 yards and five TDs in Vallivue’s 41-32 season-opening win over the Bruins. “I knew I was going to get carries. I was just trying to do the best I could. Our offensive line gave me holes, and I just finished.”
Monnier and his teammates are hopeful their strong start won’t be short-lived, and they’re likely to get a good indication of their potential in the conference opener Friday at Skyview. The Hawks have qualified for the state playoffs the past six seasons.
We have a little saying this year — that I stole from somewhere — that says, ‘You can be what you want, or you can be something better.’
Layne Coffin, Vallivue coach on keeping the Falcons’ hot start going
“It gets tougher from here on out,” Coffin said. “Skyview’s got some skill kids. They’re well coached, and they’re always attacking. We have to be ready for that attack mode. It’s going to make for an interesting night.”
For his part, Monnier says he’s ready to go the distance, and his line is eager to lead the way.
“We mesh really well together,” Vallivue center Jensen McNabb said. “If we do good, then he does good. We just bring each other up.”