Photo By Loren Orr - #29 Bryler Shurtliff
Written by Hailey Stewart
In the last 60 seconds of the 2019 2A state championship against McCall-Donnelly, West Side’s strong defensive line shut down a last ditch effort from the Vandals to win the game on a two-point conversion.
The Pirates ended up winning the championship 14-13 thanks to a strong showing by the defense, stifling Vandal quarterback Peter Knudson to 50 rushing yards and 52 passing yards. The win is made even more impressive, considering McCall-Donnelly will move to the 3A classification this year.
Coming off a near-perfect 2019 season, the Pirates look to replicate last year’s successes and hunt for a sixth state title. But with an entirely new string of varsity players, West Side Head Coach Tyson Moser knows it will be a strong run game, with limited turnovers, that could make all the difference.
Because Moser expects the offensive line to operate similarly to previous years, the Pirates look to emphasize their running game.
“Our offensive line is key for us,” Moser said. “If we can’t run the ball we will be in trouble.”
Moser said he is excited about not just a few offensive players, but the whole of the offense, considering each member was a JV player last year.
“They are excited to have their turn,” Moser said.
Although Moser didn’t name this season’s quarterback, he’ll be looking to replace last season’s signal caller Ryan Beckstead.
Moser said the Pirate defense often changes weekly based on the team, but the ultimate goal is to always stop the opponent’s run game.
“Our defensive line is key,” Moser said. “We need them to stop the run and demand double teams so our linebackers can roam.”
Moser said he expects this year’s defense to perform like last year’s aggressive lineup.
Last year’s defense posted four shutouts. The Pirates allowed an average of 7.42 points per game, just second best to McCall-Donnelly in the 2A classification.
West Side opens the season against Firth Aug. 28. The Pirates then enter conference competition against Bear Lake Sept. 25.
The Pirates will also look to avenge their lone loss of the 2019 with a Week 2 matchup against Snake River Sept. 4.
Stay tuned to IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules.