High School Football

Homedale, Fruitland football battling for top spot in 3A SRV

Fruitland’s Trevor Jones tries to get around Rocky Mountain offensive lineman Jake Wilkerson during a jamboree Friday at Vallivue High.
Fruitland’s Trevor Jones tries to get around Rocky Mountain offensive lineman Jake Wilkerson during a jamboree Friday at Vallivue High. doswald@idahostatesman.com

FRUITLAND GRIZZLIES

Fruitland’s run of nine straight state title game appearances came to an end last year, and Emmett won the conference crown each of the past two years. But with Emmett returning to the 4A level, the Grizzlies look to return to their traditional role as conference bully with nine returning offensive starters and seven back on defense. Success begins with running the ball at Fruitland, and the Grizzlies will remain potent with Phoenix Ruffin taking over the bulk of the carries and Caleb Ziegler also returning. Fruitland’s string of Division I prospects will also continue with tight end/defensive end Tyler Eiguren, who has offers from Idaho and Idaho State.

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

at Middleton

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

Ontario (Ore.)

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

Gooding

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

at Wood River

6 p.m.

Sept. 23

at Payette*

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

at Homedale*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

Weiser*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

Parma*

7 p.m.

* conference game

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

Coach: Ryan Tracy, fourth season

Stadium: Ben Kerfoot Athletic Complex

HOMEDALE TROJANS

The Trojans have reached the state semifinals twice in the past three years and return 10 offensive and nine defensive lettermen. But Homedale starts the year needing to replace three-year starting quarterback Lawsen Matteson and three first-team All-Idaho picks. Coach Matt Holtry said the Trojans will rely on their offensive and defensive lines, which include first-team all-conference member Wyatt Dorsey and only lost one starter on each side. “The level of communication among that group is top notch,” Holtry said. “The group works very well together, and we are looking forward to them guiding our offense this season.”

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

New Plymouth

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

at Melba

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

at Vale (Ore.)

7 p.m.

Sept. 17

West Jefferson

4 p.m.

Sept. 23

at Weiser*

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

Fruitland*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

at Parma*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

Payette*

7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 9-2, 4-1 3A SRV

Coach: Matt Holtry, eighth season

Stadium: Deward Bell Stadium

PARMA PANTHERS

Graduation hit the Panthers hard, robbing last year’s state quarterfinalists of their entire offensive line and first-team all-conference running back Jimmy Dawson. The only returning all-conference member is defensive back Payton Pinz (first team), who also is the starting quarterback for the second year in a row. He’s a threat to run, but with all of his receivers returning from 2015, coach Jake Walgamott said Parma is looking to take to the air more this fall. “Our focus was run-only last season, and we are hoping to be balanced,” Walgamott said.

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

Marsing

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

at Vale (Ore.)

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

Nampa Christian

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

at Nyssa (Ore.)

7 p.m.

Sept. 23

at Grangeville

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

Weiser*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

at Payette*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

Homedale*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

at Fruitland*

7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 5-5, 2-3 3A SRV

Coach: Jake Walgamott, third season

Stadium: Bennett Field

PAYETTE PIRATES

Kip Crofts, who led Meridian to a 5A state title in 2007, takes over a rebuilding project in Payette after a winless season in 2015. Crofts said participation is up to 32 players after worrying he’d have to cancel the JV season earlier this month. Junior quarterback Chris Walker returns with a year of experience, and he’ll lead an option attack with a gaggle of running backs battling for carries. But Crofts said the largest battle remains mental. “We’ve been working hard on trying to change the culture of things,” he said. “They’re downtrodden. They feel like they’ve been beaten up. We have to pump them full of optimism. We have to teach them what it takes to be a champion.”

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

Cole Valley Christian

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

at New Plymouth

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

at Marsing

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

Melba

7 p.m.

Sept. 23

Fruitland*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

Parma*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

at Weiser*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

at Homedale*

7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 0-8, 0-5 3A SRV

Coach: Kip Crofts, first season

Stadium: Killebrew Field

WEISER WOLVERINES

The once dominate Weiser program has fallen on hard times, posting three straight losing seasons. But coach John Srholec said attendance at the Wolverines’ summer and spring practices was the best it’s been in the past three years, leading Weiser to eye a turnaround. It remains strong up front, returning four starting offensive linemen and three defensive linemen, including first-team all-conference offensive lineman Ricky Sandoval. The Wolverines return six offensive and seven defensive starters, but experience at the skill positions is light, and they’ll have to replace quarterback Matt Pritchard.

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

Buhl

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

at McCall-Donnelly

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

Ontario (Ore.)

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

at Baker (Ore.)

6 p.m.

Sept. 23

Homedale*

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

at Parma*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

at Fruitland*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

Payette*

7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 2-7, 1-4 3A SRV

Coach: John Srholec, 18th season

Stadium: Walter Johnson Memorial Stadium

COACHES’ POLL

 

Team (1st-place votes)

Pts

1. Homedale (2)

22

2. Fruitland (2)

21

3. Weiser

14

4. Parma

13

5. Payette

10

Note: One coach did not vote.

OUR PICKS

 

 

1. Fruitland

2. Homedale

3. Parma

4. Weiser

5. Payette

2015 STANDINGS

Conf

All

W

L

W

L

Emmett

5

0

11

0

Homedale

4

1

9

2

Fruitland

3

2

7

3

Parma

2

3

5

5

Weiser

1

4

2

7

Payette

0

5

0

8

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

League shrinks to five teams

The 3A Snake River Valley race opens up in 2016 after Emmett, the two-time conference champ and reigning state champ, returns to the 4A classification after two years at the 3A level.

The change costs the league a playoff berth with the top three advancing to the postseason and the league champ earning a bye into the quarterfinals. The fourth-place team is eligible to compete for an at-large berth determined by a statewide committee.

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