TWIN FALLS – The Times-News held is District IV football media day in Twin Falls Thursday.
Stay tuned for updates and video highlights from the day as we work toward our team-by-team preview that publishes on August 20. In the meantime, here are some highlights of sports reporter Victor Flores’ interviews with players and coaches from District IV 3A-1A classifications.
Kimberly C/LB Collin Glass: “We’re a bit hungry for what’s happening this year, trying to get back there and show everybody that we are the team that can go the distance. Last year (when the Bulldogs won their first nine games of the season) was something a Kimberly team was not used to having in such a big atmosphere, and there was a lot of pressure on our players. Now, we know what it’s like.”
Gooding head coach Cameron Andersen: “We get whatever we have coming into our school. The only way to try and stop from having really bad years is to try our best to prepare the kids coming up so that they’re always ready to be successful. I think the town we live in gives us good kids, and I think that makes us more prone to be successful more consistently because of the type of people that are in Gooding. Right now, I feel really good with our youth coming up. We always fear stuff that we can’t see, but we’re so focused on the stuff that we can that we don’t really worry about it.”
Gooding LB Sam Funkhouser: “It hit us. This is our last year of high school football, no matter what. If we go on to play in college, it’s still high school football, and we’re gonna miss it. We’re just gonna take it with a grain of salt and enjoy it.”
Buhl head coach Seth Blick, on taking the job in late July last year: “It was one of those ‘run around with your hair on fire for a little bit’ moments, but got things put together, and the kids responded to some of the changes we made and some of the philosophies that we’re trying to instill. Hopefully that translates into this year.”
Buhl QB/LB Austin Azevedo: “(Playing both sides of the ball is) different, for sure, because at linebacker, I want to be hitting the quarterback, and then when I’m the quarterback, I’m like, ‘Don’t hit me’ (laughs). It’s a big transition, but they’re both leadership roles on the field, so it’s kinda natural.”
Carey head coach Lane Kirkland: “There are probably six to eight boys (in the school) that aren’t playing. It’s not good. Not good for other teams, I should say (laughs). … I think it’s just tradition, enthusiasm. The kids want to get out there, they want to be a part of something that’s been successful over the years, and they like it. I coach the junior high, as well, so I have these guys for six years. I’ll do my best to make sure they love things.”
Carey senior TE/LB Tanner Mecham: “At the start of this year, we had a chant. After practice, we’d say, ‘State champs.’ Yesterday, after practice, our defensive coach came up to us, and he said, ‘Guys, I don’t really want the state champs chant happening anymore, until after we win that third-place game. We’ve gotta get past that third-place game.’ It think it was a really good point. We’ve been there three years in a row. We know what it’s like. We’ve gotta get past it.”
Carey QB Houston Hennefer: “Last year, we had four weeks of prep for Dietrich, which was probably one of the biggest games of the season. They’re our rivals. Carey hates Dietrich. You’ve gotta beat Dietrich. So we had four weeks to prep for it. There were times when I didn’t takes it as seriously as I should’ve. I should’ve worked a lot harder. I know there were other people who should’ve worked a lot harder. I regret that. I really do. Because winning that could’ve changed the outcome of the season. Our attitude is a big thing.”
Valley defensive coordinator Bern Mussman, on the difficulty of making the playoffs: “I think the guys have realized that, and they’ve spent more time lifting and doing those types of things to get back into the playoffs. Hopefully a state championship, as well.”
Castleford head coach Brian Lowry, on taking over a team that went 1-8 last season: “That’s the kind of program I want to inherit. I love the challenge of changing a program, changing the philosophy of football around Castleford. To actually change it, we’re gonna work hard in practice, and we’re gonna compete in practice. That way, we can compete in games.”
Castleford QB Nate Knudson, on his goals for this season: “To make Castleford a winning program again. We used to be really good. You can look in our gym. We have a bunch of championships, but we haven’t had one in a while, so I want to get back up there.”
Murtaugh head coach Todd Jensen: “We want to get in the weight room more. That’s one of our weaknesses right now. We’ve got to get stronger. That will come. But speed is a strength for us. We have a lot of speed, so we want to utilize that as much as we can.”
Update: An earlier version of this story identified Castleford's quarterback as Danny Knudson. It has been updated for accuracy.