Photo By Patty Theurer - #8 Erin Vian
Written by Meredith Spelbring
A lot will be on the line in the New Plymouth Pilgrim’s conference season opener.
The Pilgrims will face Nampa Christian in the conference season premier Oct. 2, a matchup Head Coach Dallan Rupp said will have greater season implications.
“It will be an important game that could decide who is playing for a conference championship and who makes the state playoffs,” Rupp said. “We want to start the conference games off with a win and see where we are at as a team.”
The team lost three All-State honors players to graduation in Kobe Roberts, Derek Hampton and Cody Williams. Both Roberts and Williams led the 2019 team in tackles with more than 100 each, while Hampton led the team in interceptions, Rupp said.
Despite losing a strong group of athletes to graduation, Rupp said he has his eye on several athletes new to the varsity squad who will make an impact.
“We have some seniors that will take on larger roles,” Rupp said. “Erin Vian will move positions on offense and become a ball carrier. Javon Lindeman is new to the school and will become a big part of our offense and defense.”
The team also returns four varsity starting offensive linemen in Caiden Cutburth, Brock Winward, Hunter Williams and Joel Campbell.
The returning varsity athletes on the offensive line will be crucial to the offense’s success in the 2020 season, Rupp said.
“Our experience on the offensive line is the key,” he said. “If those big guys up front can open up holes then we will go a long ways.”
The offense’s approach this year will look similar to past seasons, focusing on working with what the defense gives, but Rupp said the team hopes to be able to run the ball to wear down the opponent.
On the other side of the ball, the defense will execute a 3-4 defense with the ability to play multiple fronts and coverage, Rupp said.
“Our linebackers' ability to move forward and fill gaps and make tackles (will be the key to defensive success),” Rupp said. “Our defensive line will create havoc in the opposing team’s backfield and the linebackers have to be able to clean up the mess.”
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated New Plymouth scores and schedules throughout the season.