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.
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“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.
at Canyon Ridge
at Bishop Kelly*
* conference game
Last season: 0-0
Playoffs: Not eligible
Coach: Tom DeWitz, first season
Record at school: 0-0
Stadium: Warhawk Stadium