Written by Brandon Hill
Despite notching just three wins in the 2019 regular season, the Madison Bobcats found themselves in the state playoffs.
Madison, led by quarterback Easton Cordero, happened into the postseason thanks to a surprise win against conference rival Highland just before the end of district play. The Bobcats snuck by with an 18-15 victory at home, plummeting the Rams’ conference record and giving Madison a berth.
But the Cinderella story quickly came to an end, as Highland enacted its revenge in the first round, winning 31-13.
In 2020, the Tigers will be without Cordero — who graduated last spring. Cordero was the only featured signal caller in 2019, throwing 1,553 yards. Cordero also led the ground game with 704 yards on the year.
Head Coach Mitchell Buck, back for his 25th season with the program, said the new faces of the offense will be receiver Cameron Porter, a new addition to the varsity squad. Buck also added Kieren Valora at quarterback, who he said made significant gains this offseason en route to filling Cordero’s shoes.
According to Buck, Porter will be a force to reckon with, giving his new quarterback not just one reliable option in the passing game, but many.
“Cameron Porter should demand a double team to open up other things,” he said.
Senior running back Ryan Winfree also returns, last year’s leading tailback with 66 carries and 244 yards. With such a Cordero-focused offense now off the table, Winfree could see an increase in snaps alongside Valero in a dynamic offensive scheme.
On defense, the Bobcats will attempt to improve their third-worst points per game standing in the 5A District 5-6 Conference. Madison allowed 26 points a game last year, just below the 30 points allowed by Thunder Ridge.
Buck said his defense will continue to operate in Cover 3, occasionally going man-to-man when necessary.
In terms of personnel, Buck said while the offense relies on the playmaking abilities of a few skill players, the defense is a much more complicated machine.
“Defense is different than offense,” he said. “Everyone has to do their job well. We are dependent on that concept.”
Buck will certainly need every one of his new defenders to step up after Madison lost two of the team’s top tacklers in Brigham Carter and Mason Flannery. In their place, Sam Rasmussen, Carson Proctor and Kaden Singleton put in the work this offseason to make an immediate impact. Proctor recorded just six tackles in 2019, but Buck said he expects his linebacker to transition into a leader on the field.
Madison’s rematch against Highland is scheduled for Sept. 25, five games into the year. The Bobcats will close the regular season against defending state champion Rigby Oct. 23.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated Madison scores and schedules throughout the season.