High School Football

Meridian football returns loads of experience on offense, defense

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.

Meridian turned to a sophomore at quarterback early in 2015, and the move paid off as the Warriors went 3-4 with Nate Weddle under center.

The switch also paid long-term dividends as Weddle leads an offense with eight returning starters heading into the fall, including Meridian’s top three receivers from a year ago in Brady Walling, Phoenix Hanneman and Isaac Hatvanti.

The bounty of experience has Meridian coach Porter Lacey excited about how the Warriors can attack opponents through the air with multiple formations.

“It’s just leadership with those guys, really,” Lacey said. “Having a quarterback that’s returning, a veteran O-line, a lot of receivers back, I feel that those guys understand our expectations now, and we can start a little further ahead than we have in the past. They’re catching on and understanding what our scheme is a little better.”

Spreading the field should help Meridian fill its largest hole, the graduation of running back Talon Kreft. Four are battling to fill his shoes — Ty Hollingsworth, Andrew Wiemer, Samaje Woodall and Luke Schrear. Lacey said the Warriors will use all of them with a running-back-by-committee approach.

The defense also brings back six starters, leaving Meridian as a favorite to reach the playoffs for the third straight year.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nate Weddle, QB

The 5-11, 160-pound junior took over under center four games into last season and remains cool under pressure.

Parker Smith, OL

The 6-0, 250-pound guard enters his third year as a starter and the Warriors can use him in a variety of ways.

Andrew Wiemer, OLB

He’ll see some time at running back. But he’s key on defense, where his athleticism and intelligence shine.

Ty Hollingsworth, CB

He plays everything from quarterback to running back to receiver, but he’s primarily a shutdown corner on defense.

SCHEDULE

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

at Centennial

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

Skyview

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

at Rocky Mountain

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

at Eagle

7 p.m.

Sept. 23

Nampa*

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

at Boise* (DLP)

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

Mountain View*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

Capital*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

at Columbia*

7 p.m.

* pod game

Last year: 4-6, 3-2 5A SIC Pod B

Playoffs: Lost to Lewiston 55-33 in first round

Coach: Porter Lacey, fourth season

Record at school: 11-18

Stadium: Warrior Stadium

TEAM PREVIEWS ALREADY FEATURED

Mountain View loaded, ready for another playoff run

Capital has talent to extend playoff streak to 10th straight year

After success in 4A, Kuna makes the jump to 5A

Borah coaches, players welcome new era

Boise looking to build off three-win season

Middleton expects experience to pay off

Fourth straight title? Bishop Kelly not looking ahead

Eagle will lean on strength of its offensive line

Emmett returns to 4A looking for more history

Receivers, O-line lead way for Skyview

Young, quick Timberline looking for first playoff win

Vallivue ready for return to 4A classification

Caldwell rebuilding after losing 31 seniors to graduation

Nampa eyes an end to playoff drought with new coaching staff

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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