Head Coach: Seth Blick, 2nd year
2016 Record: 3-5 (1-2 3A Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference)
It was July 2016, and Seth Blick felt like his hair was on fire.
The Buhl defensive coordinator had just been promoted to head coach, about a month before the season began. The Indians were coming off an 0-8 season.
Success didn't feel imminent at the time, but Buhl rallied to a 3-5 season. Now, Blick is preparing for his second season as head coach. And this time, he has a full offseason under his belt.
"I was definitely happy with 3-5. Whenever you’re winning games, from an 0-8 season, it’s a move in the right direction," Blick said. "Hopefully we continue to build on that this season."
Buhl returns only seven total starters, but Blick said several seniors have played on varsity for three years. This is Blick's seventh year on staff, so the seniors know him well, and they have been encouraged by the direction he's taken them.
Senior quarterback/linebacker Austin Azevedo said more players have participated in offseason weight training than years past, and player relationships have tightened.
"It’s already a lot more organized, and we’re gonna be on a better track than, say, my sophomore year when we had like nine starting sophomores on varsity," senior wide receiver/defensive back Roy Newberry said. "It’s gonna be a lot easier this year."
Buhl's 2016 wins came against last-place 4A Burley, winless 2A Wendell and SCIC foe Filer, which also went 3-5. Buhl's other conference opponents, Kimberly and Gooding, were on another level last year, and they look strong again.
The Indians understand the height of the mountain. They know that more improvement is not guaranteed.
They also remember the dregs of 2015, and how quickly they rose above them.
"It’s hard to explain how hard it was to keep playing," Azevedo said, "but we stuck together."