Head coach: Sean McKinney, third season
Returning starters: 4 (2 offense, 2 defense)
Last year: 1-6, missed playoffs
Impact players: Junior linebacker/running back Sam Petty and junior quarterback/safety RobelClifton — McKinney couldn’t name Petty without Clifton, and it’s not hard to see why consideringtheir similar strengths. They both bring experience to a young team and can contribute at multiplepositions. “Both of them can play quarterback, wide receiver, fullback,” McKinney said. “It’s nice tohave two kids who can do that.”
Season outlook: McKinney enters his second consecutive season in Salmon (third overall) andthat familiarity is paying off.
While last season’s preparation was a bit rushed, McKinney and the 20 members of his varsityroster are benefiting from the time they did not have last summer due to a quick hire.
“I was able to take a couple kids to camp at Montana Western,” he said. “We’re not in a last-minute scramble like we were last year. The kids know the stuff. The big thing this year isexecution.”
After being senior heavy last year, Salmon’s football team has five seniors and 12 juniors this year.McKinney said there are still several question marks on the depth chart, including quarterbackupon the graduation of Brett Cole. In addition to Petty and Clifton, Salmon returns varsityexperience in tight end/ linebacker Nick Wilcox.
“He’s our sand packer,” McKinney said. “He makes the call. He leads by example. Just a good vocalleader on that side of the ball.”
Spread offense was McKinney’s emphasis last season. This year, he said the offense will be abalance of spread and power-I. Above all, McKinney’s priorities are to bring the newcomers intothe fold and execute well.
“It was no secret. Last year, it was a rough year,” he said. “Our goal is to compete and stay indistrict games. We want to execute and put ourselves in a position to win.”
Aug. 26 at Hamilton (Mont.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Cole Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Teton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Firth*, 7 p.m.
Circle this date: Salmon’s first three weeks are brutal, a fact McKinney acknowledged right away.The road trip to Firth to begin Nuclear Conference play is an eagerly anticipated date.
Sept. 30 at Ririe*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. North Fremont*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. West Jefferson*, 7 p.m.