Behind an inexperienced offensive line, Meridian finished near the bottom of the 5A Southern Idaho Conference in average yards (240) and points (14.9) per game during the 2014 regular season.
With all five linemen back, along with senior running back Talon Kreft, coach Porter Lacey expects the offense to take a step forward in 2015.
“Last year was a little tough having such a young offensive line. We had two sophomores and three juniors starting,” Lacey said. “But this year it’s become a huge bonus for us, because they have all that experience and the confidence that comes with age.”
Leading a group of five returning linemen is 6-2, 250-pound right tackle Colton Smillie, who squatted 575 pounds during summer weight lifting. He has an offer from the College of Idaho, and more could be on the way.
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“They’ve definitely gotten stronger, and they’ve gained a lot of size,” Lacey said. “They are moving well, too. We’ve been doing quite a few pulling drills where we get them on the move, and they seem to be moving really well.”
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Players to watch
COLTON SMILLIE, OL/DL
The second-team all-5A SIC pick leads the group of five returning offensive linemen. He has an offer from the College of Idaho.
TRENTON HOPE, WR/S
Expected to anchor the secondary and be a team leader, the senior also will see time at receiver. Hope had 61 tackles last season, tops among returning Warriors.
TALON KREFT, RB/LB
The senior and second-team all-conference running back finished fourth in the 5A SIC in regular-season rushing yards (822).
JOE PASSERO, LB/WB
His 60 tackles rank second among Meridian’s returning defenders. Coach Porter Lacey credits Passero with displaying mental toughness and aggression.