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.
First-year Nampa coach Dan Holtry spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator for Homedale, which has advanced to the 3A state playoffs three years in a row.
Holtry will have a very different challenge at Nampa.
The Bulldogs started the 2015 season 3-1, but lost their final five conference games and failed to qualify for the postseason for the sixth straight year.
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It’s Holtry’s aim to get the Bulldogs back on track. Before joining Homedale’s staff, Holtry was a teacher and coach at Nampa High.
“Since Nampa is kind of a part of me, I thought it was a great opportunity to come back,” Holtry said.
Nampa was one of four 5A Southern Idaho Conference teams to rush for more than 2,000 yards during the 2015 regular season, but the Bulldogs also had the fewest passing yards (919) among all 12 teams.
Holtry anticipates more balance as the Bulldogs begin their third season in the state’s largest classification. He inherits 10 returning starters — six on offense and four on defense — and has been working with the group since he took over the program in the spring.
“I think that we have a lot of potential, and we are going to turn ourselves into a competitive program,” Holtry said. “We’ve just got to continue to do the right things, and the kids have bought in. They are excited. They’re passionate.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jake Smith, QB
After starting at linebacker last season, the 6-foot, 170-pound senior moves to quarterback.
Victor Marquez, RB
Played a backup role in 2015 with 278 yards and three touchdowns, but the 5-8, 195-pound senior is ready to earn the hard yards this season.
Isaak Estrada, HB/DE
The 6-0, 220-pound senior ranked among the top 10 last year during the regular season with four sacks, earning honorable mention all-5A SIC recognition.
Ben Mesropian, DL
Coach Dan Holtry describes the 6-4, 205-pound senior and two-year letterman as “raw but talented.”
at Mountain View*
* pod game
Last year: 3-6, 0-5 5A SIC Pod A
Playoffs: Did not qualify
Coach: Dan Holtry, first season
Record at school: 0-0
Stadium: Bulldog Bowl, Nampa