Head coach: Tim Perrigot, 21st year
2015 record: 7-3, 4-1 in Great Basin West Conference (lost in 4A playoffs to Blackfoot, 48-35)
Returning starters: 5
Minico loses tons of talent from its 2015 playoff squad. That being said, long-time head coach Tim Perrigot sees a lot of potential from the 2016 team.
New teams and new players is what keeps Perrigot going.
“Each year brings new challenges, and the kids just make it exciting. It’s like having a family of four boys. They’re all going to be different, and that’s exactly the way it is with coaching these kids,” Perrigot said. “Football’s important to our community.”
Star running back Peyton Bailey and starting quarterback Jaden Jensen have graduated. Expected to take their places are Tim Miller and Chase Chandler, respectively. Though the Spartans are short on experience, Perrigot does not plan on changing the way his team does things.
“I think what we’ve done, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same guys coaching with me forever. And we coach them all the same. It doesn’t matter who’s here and who shows up. We’ll coach the kids that show up and play hard. And we don’t change that,” said Perrigot. “We think we’ve done some things right and we want to make sure it continues.”
All-conference linebacker Boe Boston has taken it upon himself to lead the new players on the Spartan defense. He sees a unit that lacks bulk but makes up for it with speed.
More importantly, Boston sees a group that picks things up quickly.
“It’s just a learning experience, really. Just trying to help the youngsters get ready, get going. They’re really picking it up pretty quick, actually. Most kids don’t,” Boston said. “We don’t have the size we did last year, but we have a lot of speed.”
Head coach: Jed Thomas, 5th year
2015 record: 2-7, 0-5 in Great Basin West Conference
Returning starters: 7
For the first time in a what seems like a while, the Great Basin West is up for grabs. And Burley head coach Jed Thomas is cautiously optimistic that his team can be in the thick of the race.
“I would like to say that we can compete for a conference championship game,” Thomas said. “I do believe that we have the kids to do it.”
The Bobcats suffered through a winless conference season in 2015. But the return of a few key players and an influx of new talent is reason for Burley to get its hopes up. The program is up 25 players from where it was a year ago, according to Thomas.
“I’m excited for this,” said Thomas. “I’m excited for some of those kids who come out of the wood work to come out.”
Thomas doesn’t have a set number of games in mind that he wants his team to win this season. He instead just wants Burley to get its first victory and go from there.
“Our first goal is to win game No. 1,” Thomas said. “Whether that’s the first game of the year or the fifth.”
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.”
Head coach: Kade Craner, 2nd year
2015 record: 6-4 (lost to Prairie 42-22, in 1AI quarterfinals)
Returning starters: 5
Oakley returns leaders Bridger Cranney and Stryker Wadsworth, both of whom were lost to injury early in 2015, dramatically altering the trajectory of a Hornets squad who looked like state title contenders after a two loss ‘14 campaign (losing to Valley and Prairie.)
While standouts Hewstyn Beck, Bryton Cooper, and Austin Bedke all return, the Hornets lost quarterback Matt Pickett, lineman Nyman, Rem Sagers and back Jordan Cranney.
“Overall I like where we are at,” Craner said. “Our overall team speed will be good and we have some kids who like to hit. We will be a close team and have great chemistry.”