Photo By Patty Theurer - #22 Ethan Bernad
Written by Brandon Hill
While Raft River posted an impressive five-game winning streak in 2019, scoring 40-points-plus in each contest, the Trojans’ momentum hit a brick wall to close out the season, culminating in a 15-6 playoff loss to eventual State Champion Prairie.
The three-game skid began with Lost Rivers, another state championship contender, followed up by conference runner-up Oakley, driving home just how difficult the Trojans’ schedule became late in the season. Raft River, previously untested, had only suffered one regular-season loss, again to Prairie.
Luckily for the Trojans, many key components from last year’s team return, armed with valuable experience against championship-level competition.
“We will once again be playing one of the toughest conferences in the state, each week is an important matchup that could make or break our playoff scenarios,” said Head Coach Chad Evans.
Senior quarterback Bodee Spencer returns to the team, along with senior running backs Ethan Bernard and Adam Boden. Evans said he plans to continue Raft River’s run-first mentality, controlling the time of possession and wearing down the defensive line.
“We might look at a few different sets, but we should be a lot the same as last year,” Evans said.
On defense, the loss of Justin Schumann leaves a gaping hole of leadership for the Trojans.
Evans said Spencer should make notable contributions at defensive back, while senior Ryan Saeth will help anchor the defensive line, joined by senior Trace Whitaker.
“We feel that defensive success starts up front, if we win the battle in the trenches and can disrupt backfields, we have a good shot,” he said. “We will need kids to step up and fill some key positions and leadership roles.”
Raft River opens the season against Oakley Aug. 28. Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules throughout the season.