Written by Hailey Stewart
Salmon River Head Coach Ty Medley knows just how important each player and each position they play is to a small-town football team.
“Each year depth at the eight-man level is a factor,” Medley said.
That sentiment is especially true when losing key players to graduation. Medley said first-team all-conference quarterback and defensive back Ethan Shepherd and second-team all-conference defensive end Jonathan Swift were highly important to Salmon River last season.
“They will be missed this season for their on field production, as well as, their leadership abilities each week,” Medley said.
Even with the need to rely on newer, younger members, Medley isn’t too worried with players like sophomore Tyrus Swift to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
“Young guys are expected to make an impact from the get go,” Medley said.
The key to this year’s offense will be getting the ball into the hands of Salmon River’s strongest playmakers, Medley said.
Those playmakers include senior quarterback Jimmy Tucker and senior running back Justin Whitten. Tucker will look to make plays through the air and on the ground this season, as Whitten brings his speed to take home big plays from anywhere on the field.
“Trusting our experience up front on the offensive line will help us to balance our attack on defenses throughout the season,” Medley said.
Senior offensive linemen Isaac Hofflander and Eric Nelson will also be key on the offense.
Although the team will start the year off more run-heavy, Medley hopes Salmon River will be able to bring a balanced offense to the gridiron as newer players gain more realistic experience.
“Being able to run and pass gives us the ability to find and expose weaknesses in the defense,” Medley said.
On the other side of the ball, Medley hopes the expertise and size up front, as well as Salmon River’s ability to control the line of scrimmage will help create a strong defensive line this season.
Medley expects Nelson at the defensive lineman position and Hofflander at linebacker will help control the inside and put pressure on the offense to make a play. Returning players Tucker, Whitten and Shepherd will also bring valued experience in the defensive backfield when the ball is in the air.
Medley said Salmon River’s five returning starters have come off spring and summer workouts stronger and more prepared than a year ago.
“I look forward to their hard work and dedication being showcased this fall,” Medley said.
Salmon River will open the season against Clearwater Valley Aug. 28.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules throughout the season.