Lighthouse Christian Lions
Head coach: Cory Holloway, 3rd year
2015 record: 9-2, 4-1 Sawtooth West Conference (lost to Salmon River, 44-32, in 1AD2 semifinals)
Returning starters: 5
Lighthouse Christian has been dominant in the 1AD2 classification over the last half decade, winning a pair of state titles in 2011 and 2014 and finishing either second or third in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
The Lions graduated seven seniors from its 2015 squad, including Ty Giardina and Josh Fadness. Over the last two years, Lighthouse Christian has graduated 15 players.
Those losses add up for small schools like Lighthouse, which has less than 190 total students enrolled. A single injury can alter the course of the entire season.
"All of us (in the Sawtooth West) are two to three injuries away from completely changing the landscape of your team," said Holloway. "(But) if we stay healthy, I think we can play with anyone in the conference, no question.”
Among those players returning are Connor Bosma, who will start at quarterback and linebacker, and receiver/defensive back Eric Silva. Question marks abound in the tailback department, however, as three players are vying for carries at the moment, according to Holloway.
Another uncertainty on both sides of the ball exists in the trenches. Holloway likes his team's skill players and athleticism but admits his offensive and defensive lines are lacking in size.
“We’re not as big. No question. Last two years, we had big size," Holloway said. “We’re athletic and we’re fast. We’re just not very big.”
Holloway believes the Sawtooth West is bound to be difficult once again in 2016 with teams like Carey and Dietrich battling the Lions for supremacy. That tough conference slate makes it a lot easier to prepare for state when it comes around. Lighthouse Christian's lone loss in conference play last season was at the hands of the Blue Devils, 32-14.
"Always Dietrich and Carey. They’ve stuck out every year. We have battles every year," said Holloway. “If you can make it out of our conference, you’ve got a shot.”
Head coach: Russel Burnum
2015 record: 1-7
Returning starters: 5
Under new head coach Russel Burnum, formerly of Filer, the Wolves look to improve upon a rough 2015. Castleford loses a strong group of seniors, and according to a report at Idahosports.com, has just 15 players. According to the story, Castleford will rely on its size, which includes 6-foot-5 270-pound lineman Adrian DeKruyf.