Photo By Randy Jones - #1 Crew Clark
Written by Chris Deremer
Heading into 2020, the Sugar-Salem Diggers are voyaging into uncharted waters for the first time in several years.
After coming off back-to-back state championships, the Diggers aim to be in contention again, but this time with an entirely different roster.
After losing many first-team all-state and all-conference members from a season ago, the Diggers will only have three key starters from a year before on this year’s roster.
Sugar-Salem Head Coach Tyler Richins enters his seventh season as the leader for the Diggers, and despite the roster turnover, Richins still has high hopes for the upcoming season.
Coach Richins will be relying heavily on his three seniors to help lead the young roster. For the Sugar-Salem offense, senior wide receiver Crew Clark will be the only returning member for the Diggers. His leadership of the offensive unit will be something that Coach Richins will be expecting this season.
“Crew Clark is the lone returning starter,” Coach Richins said. “The experience of Crew Clark, Logan Cutler, and Brigham Lee will be relied on heavily this fall.”
One of the key storylines this season will be how quickly the new Digger offensive line can adapt to opposing defenses this year.
With a brand-new offensive line, success in the trenches early on could help Sugar-Salem keep its relevance.
Senior Kyzon Garner will make his debut as the Sugar-Salem quarterback this season. Garner will have to lead an offense that includes 10 new starters, including Garner himself.
“We graduated all five of our offensive linemen last year and a two and a half year starter at quarterback,” Richins said. “Getting our new linemen ready to compete and a new quarterback to run the offense will help us be successful this season.”
The Diggers have prided themselves as being one of the more dominating running teams within 3A Idaho high school football.
Last season, the running back tandem seemed unstoppable for Sugar-Salem, with Browning Bennion and Hadley Miller leading the way. Miller, a first-team all-state running back from a season ago, will be a tough loss for the Digger offense but Sugar-Salem is poised to be able to replace the former star.
Senior Daxtyn Zollinger and juniors Cooper Porter Jr. and Wyatt Harris will compete for playing time this season to help make the Diggers contenders once again.
Richins says he is excited about the amount of options that this offense can provide this season.
“We pride ourselves on running the football,” Richins said. “We have some stud athletes at wide receiver and running back. We like the options we have.”
After having one of the most tenacious defenses for the past several seasons, the Diggers will need to replace eight starters from their squad a year ago.
One of the key losses will be 3A Idaho player of the year Browning Bennon, who was able to do it all at the linebacker position for Sugar-Salem.
Richins said he will rely on the experience of his linebacker core to help bring this young defense together.
“Having the experience of Logan Cutler and Brigham Lee at linebacker will be critical to a youthful offense,” Richins said. “They will be vital in helping our juniors get ready to play.”
Sugar-Salme begins in-state competition against Shelley Sept. 4. Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules throughout the season.