Photo By Kelly Magee - #3 Collin Holloway
Written by Brandon Hill
An overtime thriller capped off just the third state championship season for Lighthouse Christian in 2019.
The Lions enacted their revenge in the 2019 title game against the Carey Panthers, thanks to the second-half heroics of senior quarterback Collin Holloway and a staunch defensive effort by the Lighthouse defense. Carey defeated Lighthouse Christian in the state championship the year prior.
Holloway finished the game throwing 280 yards, including a 69-yard strike to spark a 14-point comeback. And with their backs against their own end zone, the Lions defense forced a fumble on fourth-and-goal, securing a chance to win the game in overtime.
Sixth-year Head Coach Cory Holloway returns many of the key pieces from last year’s undefeated campaign, including his star quarterback. Senior receiver Clay Silva, Holloway’s favorite target in the passing game, returns for his final season, along with senior running back Chance Gaskill.
But with the loss of Brandon Houser, 2019’s Defensive Player of the Year, questions remain outside the Lions’ electric offense. The Lions also lost their leading tackler in linebacker Tyler Munsee and defensive linemen Karsten Brandsma and Logan Stephens. With their contributions, Lighthouse Christian posted the fewest allowed points per game in the 1ADII Sawtooth Conference, helping the offense reach the second-highest margin of victory last year, just behind conference rival Carey.
Despite graduating many talented seniors, Holloway said if his team can stay healthy down the stretch, Lighthouse Christian should be in a good position to take home their fourth state championship.
“We lost five two-way starters in the last half of the season, but the boys were able to fight through and adopt the ‘next-man-up’ mentality that we talk about often,” he said. “We were able to finish and bring home the championship. We had a great offensive year last year and hope to keep building on that success.”
Depth becomes the most critical challenge for Lighthouse Christian heading into the season. 2020 marks the beginning of another classification realignment cycle, meaning the Lions no longer compete at the 1ADII level — the smallest in Idaho. Instead, the Lions will join the crowded 1ADI Snake River Conference, home to a pair of perennial powerhouses in Butte County and Oakley.
“We are moving up a conference so we better be ready to strap it up every week,” Holloway said.
Oakley remained in the thick of title contention last year, but conference rival Butte County — then part of a co-op with Mackay — prevailed in the playoffs to reach the state championship game. With Lighthouse Christian in the mix, the SRC could quickly become the most competitive conference in the state.
Lighthouse Christian kicks off the season against Glenns Ferry Aug. 28. Check back with IdahoSports.com throughout the season for updated Lighthouse Christian scores and schedules throughout the season.