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.
Vallivue moved up to the 5A classification in the fall of 2006, but after 10 seasons competing against the state’s largest schools, the Falcons drop down to the 4A level this season.
The Falcons lost a portion of their students to Ridgevue, a new high school on Madison Road in Nampa that opens its doors this fall.
Vallivue coach Layne Coffin isn’t wasting time worry about the players he lost to Ridgevue, instead concentrating on a group of 17 returning lettermen who he says have displayed strong team chemistry and character over the summer.
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“We lost some good players, but some young guys are filling in well,” Vallivue junior Gabe Childs said.
Vallivue returns four offensive starters, headlined by senior running back Jerred Monnier, who owns an offer from Eastern Oregon, coach Coffin said, and led the Falcons in rushing last season with an average of 5.9 yards per carry, 11 touchdowns and just shy of 1,000 yards.
Childs, a strong safety, and senior linebacker Colton Yasinski are the only starters back on defense for a team hoping to return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2010.
But Coffin doesn’t anticipate an easier road to the playoffs as a 4A school, where the Falcons last won state in 1999.
“There’s obviously really good competition there, but I am hoping our depth isn’t as big of a factor,” Coffin said. “You always need depth, but in 5A, when we run the gauntlet, by the end of it, we were hobbling because they had more dudes.”
Since 2009, the Falcons are 8-4 against 4A schools in nonconference play, but just 3-4 the past three seasons.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jerred Monnier, RB
A second team, all-5A SIC pick in 2015, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior rushed for 993 yards and 11 TDs.
Jensen McNabb, OL/DL
The 6-3, 185-pound senior did not miss a game while starting at center and nose last year for an offense that averaged 353 yards per game.
Gabe Childs, RB/SS
Contributed 44 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception last year, and the 6-1, 180-pound junior also will see time on offense in 2016.
Connor Ash, OL
The 6-3, 295-pound senior will be a three-year letterman, switching from left tackle to right tackle this season.
at Twin Falls
* conference game
Last year: 3-6, 2-3 5A SIC Pod B
Playoffs: Did not qualify
Coach: Layne Coffin, 11th season
Record at school: 45-49
Stadium: Falcon Field