Wendell Trojans 

Head coach: Tracy Black, 2nd year

2015 record: 2-7

Returning starters: 7

Though Declo looks like the team to beat in the Canyon Conference, Tracy Black believes Wendell is on the right track.

The Trojans were 2-7 a season ago but lost four of its games by nine points or less. Their schedule was brutal as they played all the teams in the SCIC and will play the same four again this year.

"I thought we came along quite well (last year). The schedule we've got is mostly 3A. And we were in every ball game," Black said. "But you have to take the lumps."

The team is still very young, as just three seniors will suit up in 2016 to go along with a total of seven returning starters.

But Black thinks that his group's combination of solid offensive/defensive line play and an expanded roster could go a long way towards increasing his squad's success.

"This season is far from over for us. It's just beginning. And there's good things with each and every one of those kids," said Black. "I'm excited for this year. It's a happy feeling around here."

Declo Hornets 

Head coach: Kelly Kidd, 20th year

2015 record: 9-2 (Lost to Aberdeen, 28-7, in 2A semifinals)

Returning starters: 15

Declo had another solid season in 2015, advancing to the 2A semifinals before falling to eventual runner-up Aberdeen. The Hornets had a slightly different look a year ago, relying on the strong arm of Calvin Miles as opposed to its traditional run game.

Veteran head coach Kelly Kidd expects his team to go back to pounding the rock in 2016.

"If we throw it 10 times, it will be a big night in the passing department," said Kidd.

Declo should feature a strong defense this season, as the team returns 11 players who saw significant playing time in 2015.

To regain its championship form, Kelly and the Hornets have assembled a brutal schedule that includes games against 3As Sugar-Salem, Kimberly, Teton and American Falls as well as 2A power West Side.

“We intentionally worked to get tougher competition to prepare us for that run into state," Kidd said.

Kidd pointed to fatigue as a possible reason for his team's exit from the 2015 playoffs. Thus far in 2016, Kidd likes what he has seen from a group that admittedly has him excited.

“We’re quite a ways along already. Our kids are playing like they’ve been in practice a couple weeks," said Kidd. “I’m excited for this group of kids. We’ll be pretty young, but those are kids who stepped up.”

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