Raft River Trojans
Head coach: Brian Poole, 15th year
2015 record: 9-2 (lost to Prairie 44-32, in 1AI semifinals)
Returning starters: 7
It's hard to say just how good Raft River's been the last three seasons. Five of its seven losses in that span have come against teams that made the state championship game, and four came against the state champs. And not just any state champs, but the historically dominant juggernauts Hagerman ('13), Prairie ('14) and Valley ('15).
It might be the Trojans turn.
Having taken all the blows the great Snake River Conference has dished out over the last few seasons, Raft River might just be the on-paper favorites, as it returns the majority of its core that demolished foes to the tune of seven wins by at least four touchdowns.
While Raft River graduates powerhouse linemen in Ivan Poole and Luke Gilbert, it returns a highly decorated group which includes Wacey Holtman, the quarterback and receiver duo of Kolten and Kayden Hitt, who double as stars in the secondary, Braxton Poole, Colten Koller, Spencer Boden and Carson Schumann.
In fact, Raft River's strong group of underclassman might more than make-up for what it lost in the off-season.
But don't ask Trojans long-time successful head coach Brian Poole if it's the Trojans turn.
"I don’t know about the team to beat," Poole said. "We are just trying to take care of the things to get better. There is no question that Valley is a tough team and they have numbers, and sometimes when you have numbers it is easy to replace guys. Oakley will have a good group and that will be the last game of the year for us and quite the challenge. Glenns Ferry has some great skill players and a team that will be in the running."
Added Poole: "I think Valley and Glenns Ferry are the front-runners."
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."