Only three starters return for an Eagle offense that averaged 5A Southern Idaho Conference bests of 46.1 points and 509 yards per game during the regular season.
That puts the pressure on the shoulders of senior Bucky Schrader, who led the Mustangs with 1,168 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014. He also caught 11 passes for 153 yards and two more scores.
Schrader put on an extra 15-20 pounds during the offseason.
“Bucky’s going to have a great year,” coach Paul Peterson said.
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Joining Schrader in the backfield again this season is fullback Justin Walker.
The pair will give immediate strength to an offense that plans to start sophomore quarterback Devon Bridgewater, who emerged after an intense four-player battle during fall camp.
“I could make a case for all four guys, but ultimately I have to choose one. I can’t play all four,” Peterson said.
Peterson also cited team speed and experience in the front seven as a strength for his defense, which returns six starters.
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Players to watch
JUSTIN WALKER, FB
A first-team pick in the 5A SIC at tight end last season, the 6-0, 210-pound senior will help pave the way for Eagle’s ground game.
LUKE LEONNIG, DE
The Mustangs will take advantage of the 6-1, 220-pound senior’s strength. He is the reigning 5A District Three champion in the discus.
BUCKY SCHRADER, RB
The returning 5A SIC first-teamer will lead Eagle’s rushing attack. The 5-10, 187-pound senior ran for a team-leading 1,168 yards and 13 TDs last season.
BRADEN CLIFFORD, MLB
The 6-0, 210-pound senior helped the Mustangs limit opponents to a 5A-SIC best 274 yards per game last season with 39 solo tackles.