High School Football

2A Western Idaho Conference football preview

COLE VALLEY CHRISTIAN CHARGERS

In their second season under coach Dan Reece, the Chargers have a better grasp of their offense and will benefit from the return of four offensive linemen, quarterback Luke Lithander, receiver James Lamb and running back Josh Mick. Lamb led the team in receiving yards last season, earning second-team all-conference honors. Six starters are back for a defense that Reece expects to be fast and competitive.

MARSING HUSKIES

The Huskies took their lumps last season, going 0-8 after starting the year with two players with varsity experience. But all that youth translates into experience this fall with seven offensive starters and eight defensive starters back. “This year, they are more mature and ready for the varsity level,” coach Brad Hill said. Senior running back Rodrigo Acuna, a returning first-team all-conference running back, will benefit from bringing back four of his five offensive linemen.

MCCALL-DONNELLY VANDALS

Lee Leslie, the former Bishop Kelly and Kuna coach, returns to Idaho for another rebuilding project. The Vandals lost 15 straight before winning their season finale in 2014. But Leslie said participation is up from 21 players a year ago to 36 this fall, and the group’s speed has impressed him. A pair of sophomores — 6-3, 205-pound quarterback Ben Knudson and 6-4, 210-pound running back/defensive end Kaden DeLuna — stood out in camp. “There are about five kids there that can just scoot,” Leslie said.

MELBA MUSTANGS

The Mustangs made the playoffs for the second straight year despite fielding a young squad in Sherm Blaser’s first year at the helm. And the program returns most of that team with nine starters back on offense and 10 on defense. “We have a better understanding of who we are and what our program is about,” Blaser said. Sophomore middle linebacker Kobe Phillips, an honorable mention all-conference pick with 40 tackles as a freshman, anchors the defense.

NAMPA CHRISTIAN TROJANS

Jerry Smith, the Trojans’ former junior varsity coach, a Skyview High grad and a former Boise State receiver, takes over the program from Bill Barr. He inherits a program with relatively well-stocked cupboards. Tight end/wide receiver Andrew Anderson returns after totaling 424 receiving yards and four TDs last year on his way to second-team All-Idaho. And he brings back his quarterback, Steve Tiersma.

NEW PLYMOUTH PILGRIMS

The defending 2A WIC champs graduated their top quarterback, running back and wide receiver. To make up for the youth at the skill positions, coach Dallan Rupp said the Pilgrims will rely on their offensive line, which returns three starters. “We are physically stronger than we have ever been,” Rupp said. Senior Teagan Petross, a first-team all-conference offensive tackle and defensive end, anchors both sides of the line.

SCHEDULES

Cole Valley Christian Chargers

Date Opponent Time
Sept. 4 at Declo 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 Salmon 4 p.m.
Sept. 18 Nyssa, Ore. 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 Marsing* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Melba* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at McCall-Donnelly* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 Nampa Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at New Plymouth* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 2-7, 2-3 2A WIC

Coach: Dan Reece, second season (2-7 at Cole Valley)

Stadium: Meridian High

Marsing Huskies

Date Opponent Time
Aug. 28 Parma 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Grangeville 8 p.m.
Sept. 18 Homedale 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Cole Valley Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 New Plymouth* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 Melba* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 McCall-Donnelly* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Nampa Christian* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 0-8, 0-5 2A WIC

Coach: Brad Hill, second season (0-8 at Marsing)

Stadium: Marsing High

McCall-Donnelly Vandals

Date Opponent Time
Aug. 28 Orofino 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Asotin, Wash. 8 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Grangeville 8 p.m.
Sept. 25 New Plymouth* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Nampa Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 Cole Valley Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Marsing* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 Melba* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 1-7, 1-4 2A WIC

Coach: Lee Leslie, first season

Stadium: Sabala Field

Melba Mustangs

Date Opponent Time
Aug. 28 at Wendell 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Homedale 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 Nampa Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 Cole Valley Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Marsing* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 New Plymouth* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 at McCall-Donnelly* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 4-5, 3-2 2A WIC

Coach: Sherm Blaser, second season (4-5 at Melba)

Stadium: Melba Memorial Field

Nampa Christian Trojans

Date Opponent Time
Sept. 4 Gooding 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Parma 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 Emmett JV 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Melba* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 McCall-Donnelly* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at New Plymouth* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Cole Valley Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 Marsing* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 6-3, 4-1 2A WIC

Coach: Jerry Smith, first season

Stadium: Campbell Field

New Plymouth Pilgrims

Date Opponent Time
Aug. 28 at Gooding 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Payette 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 Nyssa, Ore. 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at McCall-Donnelly* 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Marsing* 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 Nampa Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Melba* 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 Cole Valley Christian* 7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 7-2, 5-0 2A WIC

Coach: Dallan Rupp, third season (11-7 at New Plymouth)

Stadium: Pilgrim Field

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