Photo By Patty Theurer - #11 Covy Kelly
Written by Hailey Stewart
Coming off a 2019 7-4 record, the Wolverines look to bring back their high-scoring momentum and get another taste of the playoffs this fall.
With several graduated players such as Joaquin Fuhriman, a key player on both sides of the ball, Chase Ross, who led from center, Ryan Briggs, who was a force in the linebacker position and Richard Lindstrom, who was key at nose guard, Garden Valley Head Coach Jason Yearsley will look to build upon last year’s successes with a large class of freshmen.
Yearsley expects freshmen Kaden Zimmer, Tacoma Kelly, Nathan Willoughby and Max Goode to be strong contributors on the field this season.
Senior receiver Josh Gillespie will rejoin the Wolverines as a starting player this season after spending some time at Mountain View, Yearsley said.
When it comes to the Wolverines’ offensive strategy, Yearsley said the team must find a sense of patience and balance in the team’s pass-heavy offense.
“We need to stay within our game and execute. We have a fast, high-intensity offense but we must find patience,” Yearsley said.
Senior Corban Fields is set to start at quarterback and will look to lead the Wolverines’ offensive attack this season.
“He carries a chip on his shoulder from not receiving recognition in his last two record-breaking seasons,” Jason Yearsley said.
Opponents shouldn’t expect the same Wolverine offense either this season. A collection of new players has given Garden Valley the chance to open up the playbook and change up this year’s positions, Yearsley said.
Bringing in Gillespie has given Garden Valley the chance to move senior Devin Yearsley to the running back position. A multifaceted, two-way player capable of catching passes out of the backfield, Yearsley will now be available as a reliable check down for Fields.
Additionally, Covy Kelly has proven himself as a “top-notch player in the state” and will be a strong presence on the gridiron this season, Yearsley said.
Sophomore linebacker Jaiden Hunt and senior Kolten LaFleur have shown huge growth since the last season, Yearsley said.
“They both look to add to our offense,” Yearsley said. “Kolten will take over the center spot, and the speed and accuracy of his snaps is far above this level.”
On the defensive end, the Wolverines will look to keep the younger players on the team up to speed and aggressive.
Garden Valley looks to feature a 3-3 defense this year under the direction of newly added defensive coordinator Scott Fields.
“He brings excitement with our new defensive scheme,” Yearsley said.
A strong presence on the offense, Yearsley also expects Kelly to be a powerhouse player at the linebacker position.
“The other team better know where Covy Kelly is at all times,” Yearsley said. “He has worked very hard this off-season and is ready to go.”
Showcasing a potent offense during the 2019 season, the Wolverines held onto a five-game winning streak with more than 40 points per game. The Garden Valley defense also had the second-best points per game average in the conference with 27 points per game.
Garden Valley opens the season Aug. 28 against Dietrich.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules throughout the season.