The Idaho Statesman is previewing high school football teams and conferences in the Treasure Valley area for 18 days leading up to the season, which starts Aug. 26. Follow IdahoStatesman.com for a list of all the previews.
Mountain View has set new standards the past two seasons, reaching the state title game in back-to-back years.
But the Mavericks have also finished as back-to-back runner-ups.
Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said his players aren’t stewing over those losses, but they haven’t forgotten them either.
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“I would not say that losing those games is our focus or our motivation,” Benedick said. “I would say it certainly gave us an expectation, and it does give you something to yearn for knowing that you were close but not quite there.”
The Mavericks return plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball from a squad that won 11 games and went 28-2 between varsity, JV and freshmen last year.
The defense brings back eight starters from a team that led the 5A SIC in defense (10.6 points, 228.6 yards a game in the regular season) for the second year in a row.
And while the juggernaut offense (54.8 ppg prior to the playoffs) has to replace the Gatorade Player of the Year (RB TreyTon Bell), it returns a first-team all-league QB (Tucker Rovig), a dangerous running back (Keenan Pattwell) and a host of receivers.
The lone concern remains on the offensive line, where only senior Carter Ballenger returns.
“That O-line has to come together, and it’s got to happen pretty quick,” Benedick said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tucker Rovig, QB
The Montana State commit is a threat through the air (2,363 yards, 21 TDs last season) and on the ground (169 yards, 4 TDs).
Keenan Pattwell, RB/WR
The No. 2 threat out of the backfield last year totaled 1,275 all-purpose yards and 11 TDs. He’s the No. 1 threat as a senior.
Jace Richter, FS
The 6-1, 180-pounder picked off seven passes last year to earn first-team All-Idaho and an offer from Montana State (has not committed to a college).
Josh Elsberry, CB
The 5-8, 175-pound senior returns as a first-team, all-5A SIC pick to lock down one side of the field.
at Hunter, Utah
at Rocky Mountain
* pod game
Last year: 11-1, 5-0 5A SIC Pod B
Playoffs: Lost to Rocky Mtn. 41-22 in finals
Coach: Judd Benedick, 10th season
Record at school: 71-32
Stadium: Mountain View High, Meridian