Five years ago, with his program mired in the doldrums of reaching the playoffs but never contending for a championship, Mountain View football coach Judd Benedick sought help.
He looked around the Treasure Valley for a team competing for a championship year in and year out, one that ran its program the way Benedick believes a high school program should be run, and one Benedick held ties to.
He found them all at Capital.
Benedick reached out to Capital coach Todd Simis — whom he worked with as a first-year coach when Simis was the offensive coordinator at Boise High — and the two coaches met at a coffee shop near Capital.
“None of it was X’s and O’s,” Benedick said. “It was all philosophy, organization, what do you do with the boosters, how do you get your kids to buy in, what do you do with your lower levels, what are coaches responsible for?”
The conversation turned into an hour-long exchange of football lessons, lessons that paid off as Mountain View broke through and built itself into a program competing for championships.
The Mavericks will play in their third straight 5A state championship game at noon Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.
Their opponent? Capital and the man whose advice helped set Mountain View on its path.
“Now here we are both trying to win a state championship,” Simis said. “I don’t regret it at all.”
Members of the small world of coaching share information all the time, whether it’s plans for their offseason program, a wrinkle to a play or — if the teams compete in different classifications — even playbooks.
Benedick said he has leaned on Eagle coach Paul Peterson and Rocky Mountain’s Scott Criner over the years. But Simis felt like a natural fit as a mentor because neither coach believes in the old-school, tough-love coaching cliché.
“I think sometimes the notion of a football coach is just go hard, scream at people, grind them into the ground,” Benedick said. “That’s some people’s perception of football.
“Well, I don’t coach that way, and he doesn’t either. So I was like, ‘OK, there’s somebody that has a similar philosophy to me, and they’re winning a lot of ball games.’ So it was kind of a good match for me.”
That coffee only represents the beginning of the ties between the two programs, which Simis called the most similar in the Treasure Valley.
Benedick and Mountain View wide receivers coach Scott Whiles both graduated from Capital, and Benedick is a member of the school’s hall of fame. Mavericks offensive coordinator Brian Compton played wide receiver for Simis at Boise. And Capital safeties coach Mark Leaf joined the Eagles’ staff in 2014 after a year at Mountain View.
The similarities even extend to the field. Both run spread offenses based around the read option. And both rely on defenses that rarely blitz and utilize four-man fronts.
“I think their coaches and our coaches, they communicate quite a bit,” Simis said. “We’ve coached with them in the East-West Shrine Game a few times. There’s just respect, a lot of respect between the two programs.”
TODD SIMIS, CAPITAL
▪ Years at school: 13
▪ Record: 104-36 (at school), 108-87 (career)
▪ Playoff appearances: 12
▪ Semifinals: 7
▪ Title games: 3
▪ Titles: 0
JUDD BENEDICK, MOUNTAIN VIEW
▪ Years at school: 10
▪ Record: 81-34 (school, career)
▪ Playoff appearances: 10
▪ Semifinals: 4
▪ Title games: 3
▪ Titles: 0