Carey High School
Conference: Sawtooth Conference West Division
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Lane Kirkland
Years as Head Coach: 16th Season
Previous Experience: Oakley, 1999-2000
Record Last Year: 9-2
State Titles: 1994, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010
Lane Durtschi (10 years)
Jake Nilsen (4 years)
John Saili (1st year)
Derrick Baird, RB/LB, 12
Toby Whitworth, QB/LB, 12
Nik D'Orazio, OL/DL, 12
Chayton Castle, OL
Kaden Koudelka, RB/DB, 11
Key Players lost from last year:
Joe Parke, LB/TE
Collin Whitby, LB/TE
Both three year starters
Photo By: Willy Harris - #22 Toby Whitworth
Incoming impact players:
Jessy Harshbarger, TE/DE, 12
Wyatt Thompson, OL/LB, 12
Tanner Mecham, TE/DB, 11
Trevor Kirkland, OL/DE, 11
DJ Parke, OL/RB/LB, 11
Raymond Peck, OL/DL, 11
Parker Gamino, DE, 12
Hilario Ruiz, RB/DE, 11
Written by: Sven Alskog
Carey was within one score of reaching the 1AD2 state title game in 2015, and while a couple of key pieces are lost to graduation, much of the roster is left intact, giving 16th year Head Coach Lane Kirkland a group which appears primed to take the next step.
It will once again be a log jam at the top of the Sawtooth West Conference, with Lighthouse Christian, Carey and Dietrich all ending last year with one conference loss, resulting in a three-way tie.
One thing is for certain though, the Panthers will have as much depth as anyone out there, with 31 players to choose from, a rarity at the 1AD2 classification.
"I love the enthusiasm and leadership coming from all our upperclassmen. It is back to some of the all-time highs of the past. I love the depth this team has as well," said Kirkland.
Leading the talent pool will be the one-two punch in the backfield of quarterback Toby Whitworth and running back Derrick Baird. Both are also key pieces of the defense in the linebacker core.
According to Kirkland the Panthers will have lots of quickness to go along with experience and size on the offensive end. The unit will be looking to play cleaner, reducing penalties in the process.
On each line Nik D'Orazio and Chayton Castle are the anchors.
Kaden Koudelka will join Baird as another running option in the backfield, while also contributing as a staple in the defensive secondary.
After being a strength in 2015, it should be much the same story for the Carey defense in the new campaign.
"Lots of depth. We have lots of players with great tackling skills and savvy for the ball," said Kirkland.
The Panthers only gave up over 20 points on one occasion last season, shutting down opposing offenses on a weekly basis.
It will be tough to replace the leadership skills and talent of three year starters Joe Parke and Collin Whitby on both sides of the ball, however with so much depth returning, the team appears well positioned to make another run.
"We are looking forward to a great season, taking it one game at a time," said Kirkland. "We have a fun, large group of very motivated and talented kids to work with. We are looking forward to seeing their growth and getting the most out of them as they work together toward a common goal of taking on the challenges of the season ahead."
Those challenges begin with a non-conference home affair with Challis on August 26. The final week matchup with Dietrich on the road could have big playoff implications once again this season.