Written by Brandon Hill
A season of hope was quickly dashed in the first round of the 1ADII playoffs.
Watersprings, hot off a 6-2 regular season campaign in 2019, fell to Murtaugh in Round 1, spoiling the Warriors’ chance at their first state title in program history.
Heading into 2020, third-year head coach Chris Strahm has plenty of momentum behind his returning starters, with multiple bright spots on last season’s schedule to point to for evidence.
Outside a 30-14 win over North Gem, Watersprings scored more than 40 points in every one of its victories, highlighted by a 70-0 blowout against Challis and a 74-8 steamroll over Sho-Ban. The Warriors’ only two regular season losses came against 1ADI teams — Lost Rivers and Raft River.
Watersprings will once again face a superior classification test, this time against Butte County, a matchup Strahm said will give him a better idea of his team’s postseason chances.
“It’s always good to put yourself up against good well coached teams, it lets you know where you stand,” he said.
To get the best of the Pirates, Watersprings will need to be firing on all cylinders offensively. Senior quarterback Brayden Remer returns to the team in 2020 and will see a larger role in Strahm’s gameplan.
“It’s going to be pretty balanced this year,” Strahm said. “We are going to be more confident with the pass. With a senior quarterback, we are hoping to air it out a little more.”
And when it comes to Waterspring’s bread and butter — running the football — tailback Matt Almgren will do his best to replicate a stunning 2019 campaign. Almgren earned a host of accolades at the end of last year, including Player of the Year for the 1ADII Rocky Mountain Conference.
On defense, Strahm said he’ll need every one of his players to step up to the plate, as depth becomes increasingly challenging the longer the eight-man season draws on.
“Every player is going to have to show up every game for us,” he said.
If Strahm’s returners perform as expected, Watersprings should once again top the Rocky Mountain Conference in points allowed per game, a category they led with just 20 on the season last year.
The Warriors kick off against Butte County Aug. 28. Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules throughout the season.