Carey High School
Conference: Sawtooth Conference West Division
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Lane Kirkland
Years as Head Coach: 17th Season
Previous Experience: Oakley (1998-1999)
Record Last Year: 7-4
State Titles: 1994, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010
Lane Durtschi (12 Years)
Jake Nilsen (5 Years)
John Saili (2 Years)
Houston Hennefer, QB/S, 12
Tanner Mecham, TE/LB, 12
DJ Parke, OL/LB, 12
Kaden Koudelka, RB/TE/LB, 12
Incoming impact players:
Porter Mecham, RB/LB, 11
Carson Simpson, RB/LB, 10
Hayden Wayment, OL/DL/LB, 12
Trevor Kirkland, OL, 12
Brigham Parke, TE/LB, 10
Raymond Peck, OL/DL, 12
Hilario Ruiz, RB/DE, 12
Written by: Sven Alskog
What a run it was for the senior class of 2017 at Carey High School on the gridiron. Behind talented athletes such as Nik D'Orazio, Toby Whitworth and Derrick Baird, the Panthers made deep runs at a state title each of the past three years.
Just like in any situation the losses will be difficult to replace, however this team should be able to do it as well as any at the 1AD2 classification, with a large stable of quality athletes to choose from.
Houston Hennefer and Kaden Koudelka lead the speed options for the Panthers, as both seniors should be key contributors on both ends of the football, with Hennefer the man behind center.
"We will have a lot of team speed and a lot of skill players to work with," said Head Coach Lane Kirkland. "We will have a new offensive line, which will be fun to work with and train up. I expect Houston to lead us with his arm and the guys to work hard for each other and succeed together."
There are some areas where improvement does need to occur though.
"We have to cut the turnover ratio down from last year as well as the penalties. Both of those plagued us terribly throughout the season. Our offense must execute much cleaner. We have to be more disciplined in this area and [this] will be my main focus."
Kirkland put a large emphasis on the offense needing to execute better overall. If the unit can do that, the sky is the limit for this group.
"I am excited to see the growth in the kids."
On defense the Panthers have a good group coming back to slow down the opposition.
"We will have a lot of skilled, fast, aggressive kids to select from and put on defense," said Kirkland. "Many of our kids played on defense a lot last year in a lot of positions and games. We will have some great depth on defense and look to keep everybody fresh and fast. We won't be as big as last year, but our speed will compensate."
Linebackers Porter Mecham, Carson Simpson and Brigham Parke are athletic middle of the defense talents who will help Carey against quality skill position players throughout the conference. Hayden Wayment is another player who can be expected to see an increased role this year.
The group will need to communicate well to maximize the potential of the unit.
"Better communication and trust is an area that needs improvement," said Kirkland. "Fewer missed tackles and better pass defense."
At the end of the day there is one clear x-factor to whether or not Carey wins the conference championship and potentially goes beyond that according to the head coach.
"We have to be much more focused and disciplined. If the seniors will work together and do everything they want with dedicated focus, I believe we will have a shot at being the conference champions."
The Panthers start the season on August 25 with a home non-conference game with the North Gem Cowboys, hoping to avenge a 14-12 week two loss from a year ago.
"Every game will be a must-see," said Kirkland. "We have a couple of redemption games starting with North Gem and finishing with Dietrich, but one game at a time is all we see."