Nampa returned to the state’s largest classification last year for the first time since 2004.
While they were picked to finish last in the 5A SIC’s Pod A in a preseason poll, the Bulldogs exceeded expectations by forcing a Kansas City tiebreaker for the final state playoff berth.
Although the Bulldogs didn’t emerge as the winners from the tiebreaker, they did take another step forward as a program.
Fourth-year coach Jon Choate said he’s seen the confidence in fall camp.
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“I think last year proved to our kids, ‘OK, we can play here,’ ” Choate said. “Our kids aren’t stupid. When they see Rocky Mountain on their schedule, they know they’ve got to bring their ‘A’ game. When they see Capital, when they see Mountain View, those aren’t slouch opponents — not that anybody is in our conference. But I think we feel now that we belong.”
With seven starters back on both sides of the ball, Nampa hopes to build on last year’s success.
“Our goal is the same as last year — we want to finish top three in our pod,” Choate said. “We do that, we’re in the playoffs.”
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Players to watch
KOOPER WILCOX, QB/S
The returning senior quarterback and starting point guard threw for 975 yards and seven TDs last season, while adding 321 yards and six TDs on the ground.
PEDRO KING, RB/S
While undersized at 5-6, 150 pounds, the senior makes up for it with strength and quickness, leading the Bulldogs in rushing in 2014 (515 yards, 10 TDs).
ROB DAVENPORT, TE/DE
Coach Jon Choate plans to move his starting left tackle the past two years to tight end to take advantage of his athleticism.
WYATT SILVIS, H-BACK/ILB
The senior moves to inside linebacker, where he’ll “be the sideline-to-sideline tackler we feel he has the ability to be,” Choate said.