Russets crush Jerome

Ryker Clinger has emerged as a top running threat for Shelley.

It’s pretty difficult to overstate how remarkable this news is: In the new high school football media poll, Shelley has entered the top five in Class 4A.

Readers who know even a little bit about the area will understand why this means something. The Russets’ football program has long underachieved. Maybe languished would be a better word. Three years ago, Shelley won two games. The next, head coach Josh Wells’ first year at the helm, the Russets went winless. Last year, the club collected three wins and finished second-to-last in the conference.

Now, under Wells’ direction, the football scene in the town of 4,000 looks astonishingly different. Running back Ryker Clinger has established himself as a real force, and the Russets’ defense has allowed the following point totals: Six, seven, seven.

“A lot of excitement has come back to Shelley football, like there used to be a long time ago,” Wells said. “So I think for our community, it’s huge. We’re seeing packed stands, thing we haven’t seen at Shelley in the last four or five years.”

At the risk of jinxing Shelley, the team’s next three games are against Canyon Ridge, Hillcrest and Bonneville, all of whom are winless. So it’s possible the Russets could rack up several more victories before the schedule really becomes challenging, starting with an Oct. 8 test against Pocatello, which became Class 4A’s No. 1 team in the new poll.

That’s why on Tuesday, Wells and the coaching staff met with the team, emphasizing the importance of doing “the small things.”

“Whether that’s through our film or through the different things we do throughout practice,” Wells said. “That’s something we’ve got to improve on. We’ve got to improve on doing the little things and becoming more efficient and have more attention to detail.”

Here is the rest of the poll.

CLASS 5A

Team (1st-place votes) W-L Pts Pvs

1. Rigby (11) 3-0 63 1

2. Mountain View (2) 3-0 54 2

3. Rocky Mountain 2-1 26 3

4. Highland 3-1 18 5

5. Lewiston 3-0 9 —

Others receiving votes: Eagle 8, Capital 7, Meridian 6, Coeur d’Alene 2, Skyview 1, Idaho Falls 1.

CLASS 4A

1. Pocatello (10) 3-0 56 3

2. Skyline (3) 1-2 37 1

3. Minico 3-0 35 5

4. Sandpoint 1-1 28 4

5. Shelley 3-0 14 —

Others receiving votes: Bishop Kelly 10, Emmett 9, Moscow 2, Middleton 2, Mountain Home 1, Preston 1.

CLASS 3A

1. Homedale (13) 3-0 65 1

2. Weiser 3-0 46 2

3. Gooding 3-0 40 3

4. South Fremont 3-0 30 4

5. Kellogg 3-0 8 —

Others receiving votes: Fruitland 2, McCall-Donnelly 2, Sugar-Salem 1, Timberlake 1.

CLASS 2A

1. West Side (13) 3-0 65 1

2. Firth 2-1 37 2

3. Declo 3-0 35 3

4. North Fremont 3-0 34 4

5. Cole Valley Christian 3-0 23 5

Others receiving votes: Nampa Christian 1.

CLASS 1A DIVISION I

1. Oakley (11) 3-0 62 1

2. Prairie (1) 2-0 49 2

3. Raft River (1) 2-0 44 3

4. Butte County 3-0 27 5

5. Notus 2-1 6 4

CLASS 1A DIVISION II

1. Carey (13) 3-0 65 1

2. Horseshoe Bend 3-0 46 4

3. Castleford 3-0 36 —

4. Dietrich 2-1 23 2

5. Kendrick 2-1 19 3

Others receiving votes: North Gem 3, Mullan 2, Rockland 1.

Voters: Donn Walden, Lewiston Tribune; Mark Nelke, Coeur d’Alene Press; Brandon Baney, IdahoSports.com; Fred Davis, Bingham News Chronicle; Jordan Kaye, Idaho State Journal; Brady Frederick, KLEW; Dave Nichols, Spokesman-Review; John Wustrow, Idaho Press; Pat Sutphin, Times-News; Brittany Cooper, KMVT; Greg Woods, Post Register; Adrian Luevano, KIFI; Michael Lycklama, Idaho Statesman.

Greg Woods is a sports reporter at the Post Register. Reach him 208-542-6772 and follow him on Twitter at GregWWoods.

Greg Woods is a sports reporter at the Post Register. Reach him 208-542-6772 and follow him on Twitter at GregWWoods.

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