Madison High will unveil its new state-of-the-art stadium this week as the 2019 season gets underway.
Defending champion Highland is expected to be the target for conference teams as Rigby and Madison take aim, and second-year Thunder Ridge looks to improve with a core of returning players.
“You always better have a goal of winning it,” Madison coach Mitch Buck said about playoff aspirations. “It’ll be tough. Rigby will be good and Highland will be good. You have to get through your conference and make the playoffs. Then you have those big teams in Boise like Mountain View, Rocky Mountain, Eagle and Capital that are always up there.”
Buck doesn’t come up with a mantra for his team, but there is one thing he wants to make sure the players remember.
“We just try to focus on ‘Do your job.’ That’s really what it comes down to,” he said. “You really focus on your individual assignment.”
Thunder Ridge looks for the program’s first victory and returns just about every starter from last year’s team.
The mantra for Titans coach Jeff Marshall is continuity. That’s what he expects to see from what is still a young team, although most saw playing time a year ago.
Rigby has most of its defense back and coach Armando Gonzalez said he expects the Trojans to challenge for the top of the standings.
“We have a lot of kids that have varsity of experience,” he said.
The Bobcats will have a new quarterback this season as Easton Cordero moves over from wide receiver.
After rotating three productive backs last season, Trevor Lucero is the main running back returning this season. He’ll start for the Bobcats while Gavin Fuller and Ryan Winfree will likely also see their fair share of carries.
Tre Holloway, Mark Williams and Joe Lundin will be some of Cordero’s weapons at the wide receiver positions as will starting tight end Dawson Wills.
-Koster Kennard/Standard Journal
Coach: Mitch Buck, 24th season
Last year: 7-4, lost in state quarterfinals
Impact players: Easton Cordero, Sr., QB; Trevor Lucero, Jr., RB; Carter Stanford, Jr., OL.
Aug. 30 vs. Lake City, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Sky View (Utah), 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Pleasant Grove (Utah), 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Skyline, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Rigby, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Hillcrest
Oct. 11 at Blackfoot, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 vs. Highland, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Thunder Ridge, 7 p.m.
THUNDER RIDGE TITANS
The good news for Thunder Ridge is that the Titans are no longer a first-year program. All the newness, the learning curve, and all the details that can bog down a new program are gone.
Season two features 18 returning starters who have a year of experience under their belt and a goal of getting the program’s first win.
“Everything’s not new,” coach Jeff Marshall said. “It’s just getting refreshed.”
It should be a bigger and stronger lineup on both sides of the ball. Marshall said the main goal on defense is to improve on stopping the run. On the offensive side, the team will have a new quarterback with Skyline transfer Tao Johnson taking over. Marshall said the Titans will continue to be a spread team and even occasionally line up in the I formation.
THUNDER RIDGE TITANS
Coach: Jeff Marshall, 2nd season
Last year: 0-9
Returning starters: Offense 10, Defense 8
Impact players: Seth Moedl, Sr., OL; Elijah Fonoti, Sr., OL; Kayden Toldson, Sr. WR.
Aug. 30 vs. Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 at Skyline, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Idaho Falls, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Blackfoot, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Kuna, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Highland, 8:15 p.m.
Oct. 11 vs. Rigby, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 vs. Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 vs. Madison, 7 p.m.
The Trojans have a dynamic player in quarterback Keegan Thompson, which fits into Rigby’s up-tempo style.
“(Thompson) improvises a lot on his own,” coach Armando Gonzalez said. “It’s hard to defend him because he can make plays with his feet.”
Gonzalez noted any team that has a returning quarterback has an edge going into a new season. The Trojans also have a returning running back in Brigham Youngstrom and one of the area’s top linemen in Tanoa Togiai, who at 6-5 and 290 pounds, will start on both sides of the ball.
Rigby has never been a heavy passing team, and that likely won’t change this year, Gonzalez said, adding there will be situations where throwing the ball is warranted.
“The biggest thing for us is playing fast, up-tempo,” he said. “We’re a fast tempo offense, that’s our edge. We try and get them on their heels.”
Coach: Armando Gonzalez, 3rd season
Last year: 4-5, missed the playoffs
Returning starters: Offense 6, Defense 8
Impact players: Keegan Thompson, Sr., QB; Brigham Youngstrom, Sr., RB; Landon Cook, Sr., OL; Peyton Richardson, Sr., DB; Tanoa Togiai, Sr., DL/OL.
Aug. 30 at Coeur d’Alene, 8 p.m. (MST)
Sept. 5 at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Skyline, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Spring Creek (Nev.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Madison, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Thunder Ridge, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Bonneville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 vs. Highland, 7 p.m.