The Idaho Statesman is previewing high school football teams and conferences in the Treasure Valley area for 18 days leading up to the season, which starts Aug. 26. Follow IdahoStatesman.com for a list of all the previews.
After a fourth-place finish in the 4A Southern Idaho Conference last season, Skyview snuck into the state playoffs for the sixth year in a row via an at-large berth.
The Hawks believe they have the talent to contend for a seventh straight playoff appearance this fall.
Skyview struggled with consistency on the offensive line last season, only starting the same group on two occasions because of injuries.
Seven linemen who started at least one game in 2015 return, giving the Hawks’ offense the backbone it needs to take advantage of returning receivers Kyle Pierce, DeMonte Horton, Filiotama’ita’a Church and Isaiah Schlegel while breaking in a new starter at quarterback in sophomore Wyatt Storer.
“Our receiving core is pretty good,” Skyview coach David Young said. “But the reality is, offense is built No. 1 on the offensive line. Our offensive line last year went through a ton of bodies. The injuries just kind of wreaked havoc on us.
“Most of those dudes are back, and they’re healthy, and they’re bigger and they’re stronger. We are excited about our offensive line.”
But a potent offense won’t go far without an improved defense behind it. The Hawks allowed 34.4 points per game during the 2015 regular season, second most in the 4A SIC. That average will need to go down as the already competitive 4A SIC expands from six teams to eight.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kyle Pierce, WR
An All-Idaho first-team selection a year ago, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior totaled 956 receiving yards and 14 TDs.
DeMonte Horton, WR/FS
Missed the first four games of 2015 with a knee injury, but the 6-3, 200-pound junior has started since he was a freshman.
Filiotama’ita’i Church, TE/OLB
The 6-1, 215-pound senior contributed on both sides of the ball last year with 372 receiving yards and 2 TDs, plus 35 tackles and 5 sacks.
Owen Rockwood, OL/DL
Also a two-time state placer in wrestling, the 6-3, 205-pound senior started every game on the O-line last season and added 25 tackles and 7 tackles for loss.
Box Elder, Utah (Holt Arena)
at Mountain Home*
at Bishop Kelly*
* conference game
Last year: 3-7, 2-3 4A SIC
Playoffs: Lost to Kuna 34-19 in first round
Coach: David Young, 14th season
Record at school: 69-62
Stadium: Hawks Stadium