Middleton concluded one of its fall practices by asking players — both varsity and JV — to take 30 seconds and give a high-five to at least five players they didn’t know very well.
It’s those spur-of-the-moment ideas that help bring the Vikings together, longtime coach Bill Brock said.
Like many teams throughout the Treasure Valley, the Vikings put an emphasis on their football family.
But the Vikings’ approach seems to be working particularly well, as they enter the 2015 season with a chance to advance to the state playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.
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“Win, lose or draw, the kids have done a great job of just sticking together and working,” Brock said. “They don’t point fingers when things are going bad, and they give credit when things are going well.”
Middleton returns six offensive starters, but will be breaking in a new QB. With three running backs returning — Caleb Harrel, Jaden Coombs and Chance Turner — it may mean the Vikings will lean on their ground game early on.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422;
Players to watch
CALEB HARREL, RB/CB
The 5-11, 180-pounder led the Vikings in rushing last season with 800-plus yards and 12 TDs. The senior was a second-team all-4A SIC pick on offense and an honorable mention on defense.
NATHAN WEBER, OL/DL
Standing 6-3 and 240 pounds, the two-way senior lineman earned first-team All-Idaho honors last year on the defensive line.
JADEN COOMBS, RB/MLB
The 6-0, 205-pound junior was a leading rusher for Middleton (431 yards, 6 TDs) until a knee injury knocked him out of the final five games.
DIETRICH JORDAN, OL/DL
The high-motor, three-year starter at guard for the Vikings also will mix in some snaps at defensive tackle this year.