High School Football

4A high school football preview: Caldwell High

Zach McGee has been a part of the Caldwell coaching staff for the past nine seasons.

It’s not often that he’s surprised by what he sees on the football field.

This season might be an exception.

McGee has 31 seniors on his roster, making the goal of attaining Caldwell’s first winning season since 2005 a possibility.

“We have a lot of kids who were juniors and two-way starters last year that are now coming into their senior year,” McGee said.

“They’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger. They are better leaders. This is a slower game for them. You could see that just coming out of camp, that they were more prepared for football season than they were a year ago.”

All but one starter returns on offense, and eight starters are back on defense.

“The heart of our offense and the heart of our offensive line is coming back,” McGee said. “Our defensive line is coming back, so we’re really excited.”

Caldwell finished 5-4 in 2005, its last winning season.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422;

Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

Players to watch

AUSTIN VAN HORNE, QB

The senior helped Caldwell’s passing attack take a step forward, throwing for 1,010 yards and seven TDs while adding 351 yards and nine TDs on the ground.

BRADEN SWANSON, WR/DB

The senior earned second-team All-Idaho honors as a punter last season. But with lots of experience back, the Cougars hope his receiving skills get more recognition.

MARTIN ESCOBEDO, OL/DL

The second-team all-conference pick (6-2, 305) leads an offensive line that brings back five of six players who started last season.

JACOB SWAIN, FB/S

The Cougars return a total of 1,272 yards rushing from their backfield by committee. Swain totaled 400 yards and three TDs.

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