Photo By Paty Theurer - #58 Chris Mott
Written by Chris Deremer
The Payette Pirates aim to forget old habits and start something new during the 2020 season.
After a disappointing 2019 season, the Pirates look forward to fresh new beginnings back on the gridiron. Payette head coach Kip Crofts returns for his fifth season, with still having plenty to prove in the program.
Throughout the past three seasons, the Pirates have combined for only two wins, with some of their worst losses coming against their conference foes a season ago.
During the offseason, Coach Crofts has made an emphasis on not being afraid to make necessary changes that the team needs to be more successful in the future. According to Crofts, that will lead to simplifying the offense and allow better opportunities for a team filled with crafty skill players.
Senior Kodee Bennett will be making a position change this season from quarterback to wide receiver. Providing new opportunities for the Pirate offense to be craftier this season.
Bennett will still see time behind the center for Payette, but utilizing Bennett’s athletic abilities throughout other aspects on the field could be key for Payette to find more success this season.
Another key to having a successful offense is having dominant offensive line play, and the Pirates hope to play more physically upfront this year. One of the key players on the Pirate offensive line will be junior offensive lineman Joe Carl.
Just a year prior, Carl received Snake River Valley All-Conference honorable mention honors.
With only entering into his junior season, Carl will look to take greater strides to continue being one of the more dominant anchors on this offensive line.
Junior offensive lineman Chris Mott will also return for the Pirates, adding on to a young but experienced offensive line. Both Mott and Carl will be big factors within the defensive trenches as well, having the unique opportunity to be able to protect their quarterback and bulldoze others.
One key player Payette will have to try to replace will be Blake Garcia. Garcia was a huge factor on both sides of the ball playing defensive back as well as wide receiver for the Pirates. The biggest factor Coach Crofts wants from his defense this season will be getting off the field on fourth down more often. Getting off the field earlier can help give this team the confidence it is in desperate need while also providing more opportunities for the offense to make plays.
Playing within a conference stacked with offensive talent, the Pirates need to put all their effort into strong defensive play this season if they aim to be more competitive.
With all odds stacked against the Pirates, don’t be surprised if Crofts and his team start to prove doubters wrong this season.
Payette opens the season Aug. 28 hosting Cole Valley Christian.