Written by Hailey Stewart
The 2019 season is one the Panthers would sooner forget.
With a 0-8 record, West Jefferson saw hiccup after hiccup on the field, something opponents didn’t expect considering the Panthers posted a strong season during 2018.
In 2018, West Jefferson had a 7-3 record and reached the state quarterfinals, but fell just short against North Fremont.
This year, West Jefferson looks to replicate its 2018 season successes. And despite a lackluster 2019 season, West Jefferson Head Coach Ty Minto said he has seen significant improvement from all returning players.
“Kids don’t always want to work hard knowing they went 0-8 in the previous season,” Minto said. “Those that have come back, have come back more determined and prepared for another chance at a successful season.”
Although the Panthers lost several key players to graduation, Minto said junior Dylan Burtenshaw should be very effective with running the ball this season.
Minto said the key to West Jefferson’s offensive success will lie in the hands of quarterback Kazden Rogers' ability to read the defense before and after the snap.
“We have refined our offense to make it more simplistic, eliminating the chance
for mistakes on our players,” Minto said.
On the other side of the ball, Minto said the Panther defense is based on inside-out leverage. Last season, West Jefferson played with a gap-based defense, this year, Minto said, the Panthers will enact a 4-3 defense.
Minto said he is most excited to get back on the field against Ririe this season.
“When we played them last year, the weather that started when we started the game was some of the worst I have ever coached in,” Minto said. “It lasted almost the entire first half and was blowing into our faces the whole time. I look forward to a home game on turf and hopefully without freezing rain and wind in our faces.”
West Jefferson will start the season against Delco Aug. 28.
Check back with IdahoSports.com throughout the season for updated scores and schedules.