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Commentary: Halfway there; a look back the high school season’s first month

September 23, 2013

Snake River quarterback Kade Keller, #10, stiff arms a Sugar-Salem defender in a game earlier this season. The Panthers have jumped out to a 3-0 start in the first month of the high school football season.

Believe it or not we have just finished the first month of the high school football season.
While most teams in the state are wrapping up their non-conference match-ups and preparing for the meat of their schedule, there will still be a few big non-conference match-ups later in the season.

For the five schools in Bingham County the first month has definitely shown that the county is not devoid of talent and the strong tradition of good teams in the county will continue for at least one more year.
But that is not to say there have not been some surprises so far.
Winning four state championships in six years is an accomplishment that any team should be proud off and no team is more aware of that that the Blackfoot Broncos.
But for the 2013 Broncos the first three games of the season have not gone according to the way many fans would have hoped.
Blackfoot sits at 0-3 and is the only county school without a win in the county which is a shock to many of us who follow football. But knowing what was lost from the 2012 team, it is hard to say that what has transpired this season is a shock.
The Broncos defense is young, very young. And through the first three games this season the linebackers and secondary have taken their lumps.
In the 12 games last season the Broncos surrendered 241 points to their opponents, so far through the first three games this year the Broncos have given up 125 including a season-high 47 against Skyline.
Offensively the Broncos have a lot of things that are not going well, namely head coach Stan Buck is having a hard tie calling plays in games when no one has stepped up to be the playmaker the team desperately needs.
Right now the Broncos offense is Kylar Haddon and not much else. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Pearson is still showing that he has only played three games as a varsity quarterback, as the season wears on he will get better, he has to or the season may not end well for the Broncos.
When I interviewed Firth head coach Keith Drake during the early part of fall camp he was unsure of what exactly his team was going to look like.
So far the Cougars look pretty good.
After losing Jake and Mitch Orme to graduation the Cougars were looking for some players to step up and get the team back to the playoffs.
So far Connor Montgomery, Coltyr Brewington and Jackson Thompson have stepped up to lead Firth to a 3-1 record, the one blemish being a 22-20 loss to a pretty good Sugar-Salem team.
So far Drake and the Cougars have picked up exactly where the left off in 2012, does that mean a return to the 2A state title game for third consecutive season? It is too early to tell, but the Cougars have a favorable schedule of the final four games of the season, beginning Friday when they host Ririe.
The Aberdeen Tigers had quite the end to the summer. Long time coach Cory Hollingsworth abruptly resigned to take a job in Oregon the week before fall practice began.
Less than week later Jeff Duffin, a Hollingsworth assistant, was named head coach and thus far this year the Tigers have jumped out to a 3-1 start.
Duffin told me before the season that he had no plans on changing anything the team did on either offense or defense, and so far that decision has proved to be a good one.
The one Tigers loss was an oft weather delayed game against North Fremont the finals score was closer than it appeared on paper.
Beginning Friday night when they host Snake River, the Tigers enter the toughest part of their schedule.
After the Panthers, Aberdeen takes on 2A Fifth District opponents Soda Springs, Malad and West Side.
If the Tigers want to return to the playoffs and not have to play in a Kansas City playoff at season's end, the next four games will be critical.
Up I-15 at Shelley the Russets just keep winning.
Sure they lost at Manti, Utah two weeks ago in another game that was delayed by weather.
Knowing Russets head coach Travis Hobson like I do, he will not use the weather delays as an excuse for why his team lost in Utah. Instead I expect him to use it as motivation for the remainder of the season.
Pocatello found that out last week when the crushed by the Russets 41-14.
The Russets enjoy their by week this week with a 3-1 record before beginning s three week stretch on the road at Preston, Sugar-Salem and South Fremont.
Shelley looks to be a contender for the 3A state title again this year, they have a quarterback in Kaden Schmitt who has basically been a starter for parts of the last two seasons, the rest of the offense has not missed a beat and the defense may be as deep as it has ever been.
What happens in the last month while set the tone for the playoffs for the Russets.
In Thomas the Snake River Panthers have managed to go through the first month without a loss, the only team in the county to pull off that feat.
I am a surprised, a little, but then again head coach Jeff Dalley always finds a way to get the most out of his squad, and this year is no different.
The Panthers have won their there games by a combined eight points and not have scored more than 22 points in either of their victories, but that does not mean the Panthers are not a contender.
Sure the team faces non-conference games with Aberdeen and Teton the next two weeks, but it is the final three games that will determine if the Panthers make the playoffs.
It has definitely been an entertaining start to the football season. And as the weather cools down and fall sets in I expect things to continue to fun to watch.
Can Blackfoot turn things around?, Can the other four schools in county continue their winning ways? We will find out, sit down and strap in the last half of the season is going to be a blast.

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