High School Football

Ridgevue football excited for first season, experienced senior class

Ridgevue High football battling first-year challenges

Tour the new facilities at Ridgevue High in the Vallivue School District as Warhawks coach Tom DeWitz describes the challenges of founding a new program at a new school.
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Tour the new facilities at Ridgevue High in the Vallivue School District as Warhawks coach Tom DeWitz describes the challenges of founding a new program at a new school.

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.

Tom DeWitz tempered his expectations coming into Ridgevue.

The new high school in Nampa split off from Vallivue to create two 4A programs. And with a new program starting with no history, no traditions and the option for seniors in the school boundaries to stay at Vallivue, DeWitz figured the Warhawks would take their lumps for a couple years.

But with 21 seniors joining the Ridgevue program, including some of Vallivue’s top players, DeWitz has allowed himself to get excited.

“We have some talent this year,” the former Boise State offensive lineman said. “We’ve got some experienced players. And we should be able to compete, I feel like.”

DeWitz hired Dave Kemper, the former Capital quarterbacks coach, to run the offense, and he’s bringing a spread, no-huddle attack with him. The Warhawks feature a bounty of receivers, junior Colton Crawford won the starting quarterback battle in camp and running back Randy Rodriguez, while small, possesses the quickness to accelerate through open lanes in the spread offense.

But as with any first-year program, depth remains a concern with approximately 85 players in the program.

“Our first stringers, I like,” DeWitz said. “I like our team. We’re just thin for the first year.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kade Linder, WR

The 6-3, 190-pound senior was Vallivue’s top receiver last year, hauling in 39 catches for 627 yards and six TDs.

Will Bourne, WR/CB

He battled for the starting QB spot, but Ridgevue will use him as a slot receiver instead, as well as a starting corner.

Cullen Lewis, LB

The 5-11, 180-pound senior led Vallivue in tackles last year and has established himself as a leader for the Warhawks.

Eric Bataluna, OL/LB

Ridgevue doesn’t want to start many players both ways. But they can’t keep the 6-0, 230-pound junior off the field.

SCHEDULE

Date

Opponent

Time

Aug. 26

Boise

7 p.m.

Sept. 2

at Canyon Ridge

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

Caldwell*

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

Mountain Home*

7 p.m.

Sept. 23

at Middleton*

7 p.m.

Sept. 30

Vallivue*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

at Bishop Kelly*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

Emmett*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

at Skyview*

7 p.m.

* conference game

Last season: 0-0

Playoffs: Not eligible

Coach: Tom DeWitz, first season

Record at school: 0-0

Stadium: Warhawk 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

Meridian returns loads of experience

Nampa eyes an end to playoff drought

Mountain Home trying to end losing streak, turn corner

Young Centennial has strong offseason

Columbia looking to end losing streak with experienced group

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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