Photo By Willy Harris - #13 Jake Ferris
Written by Wayne Dzubak
The Mountain View mantra will mean more than ever August 21, when the Mavericks host the Highland Rams, another 5A team ready to grab 2020 by the horns, to open the season.
Mountain View head coach Judd Benedick, now in his 14th season with the Mavericks, said the Highland Rams are one of the premier teams in Idaho high school football year after year, kicking off a loaded schedule for 2020.
The Mavericks finished 2019 8-3, with losses coming to SIC powerhouses Rocky Mountain (27-7) and Borah (44-37).
Against the Lions, the Mavs hung tough in a home-turf showdown but failed to provide an answer to Borah’s electric offense led by now-graduated quarterback Austin Bolt.
Still, the Mavericks qualified for the playoffs in 2019 and crushed Lake City 58-0 in the first round before ending the season with a 31-21 loss to eventual champion Coeur d’ Alene the following week.
The Mavericks are known for their balanced offensive attack, evenly spreading the pass and run in 2020 with the help of veteran quarterback Jake Farris.
Unfortunately for Farris, he’ll be without his two top receivers: Colby Peugh, who led all Maverick receivers in 2019, and K.J. Lynch, a second-team All-State receiver. Farris will however get to stand behind an offensive line that Benedick said has improved in strength and size, which should mean a solid running game. And when it comes to throwing the ball, Benedick said Farris can rely on tight end Mason Kielty.
Benedick said Farris, a second-team All-State QB, will need to pick up at the high level he played in 2019 and his leadership will be critical.
“We need to replace some big production from a couple of our receivers,” Benedick said. “We also need our quarterback play to pick up where it left off at the end of last season to carry us early on.”
Defensively, the Mavericks are young, with just one starter returning from last year’s squad in senior defensive back Luke Williams. Outside of Williams, it will be up to Bendick to oversee a complete retooling of his secondary.
“All four of our defensive backs will be new starters, but have some experience and should make an impact,” Benedick said.
But it won’t just be his fellow defenders that Williams may not be familiar with. The Mavs added Brandon Bartlette, former Mountain View JV linebacker coach, to the varsity staff this offseason.