Written by Will Hoenike
The 1A Division 1 Western Idaho Conference has belonged to Wilder and Idaho City for the past few years but there is reason to think the conference’s outlook could change this fall.
Mark Martell and the Rimrock Raiders hope to be a part of that shakeup.
Coming off a one-win season, the Raiders return a solid nucleus of players who contributed on both sides of the ball last season, with three of the biggest contributors being just juniors.
Gus Black put on one of the better shows of the season at home against Wilder on Oct. 11, 2019, when he returned four kickoffs for touchdowns. He also ran for 119 yards and two more scores, making it a six-touchdown game against one of the top teams in the 1A Division 1 classification last fall. He came on strong as the season progressed as a running back, including the game against Wilder, but was a key piece of the team’s defense all season long, averaging about six tackles per game.
Black could be a possible breakout star at the 8-man level, but he’s not alone. Senior quarterback Mike Nanney returns after a season where he showed flashes throwing the ball and running the ball. And, when he throws it, it’s likely to go to Pedro Varela, also just a junior. All three players earned All-Conference honors last season.
So did lineman Alex Martinez, who earned his accolades for his play on the defensive side of the ball. His play, much like his teammate Black, really surged as the season progressed, including a 15-tackle effort against league rival Notus.
Rimrock, located between Grand View and Bruneau (outside of Mountain Home,) is one of the smaller 1A Division 1 teams in Idaho, so depth is always a concern. If the Raiders can avoid the injury bug, the team should improve over last season and could be a factor in the Western Idaho Conference playoff hunt.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated Rimrock scores and schedules throughout the season.