Written by Meredith Spelbring
The Blackfoot Broncos will be starting their 2020 fall season differently for the first time in nearly 30 years -- by welcoming a brand new head coach.
Head Coach Jerrod Ackley takes the helm for the Broncos after long-time Head Coach Stan Buck announced his retirement this winter, right after leading the team to a second-place state finish in 2019. In his 28-year tenure with Blackfoot, Buck led the team to four 4A state titles and four runner-up seasons, including the Bronco’s 2019 finish.
Ackley has a high bar to meet heading into the 2020 season. The Broncos are widely expected to have a strong season, with expectations to finish in the top three in 4A this season, according to preseason media polls.
“Obviously, Blackfoot has a great football tradition,” Ackley told the Idaho State Journal in April. “Coach Buck has done just a phenomenal job of building a state powerhouse program. ... I think it’s just a really good situation to come into a football-hungry community, and obviously there’s a lot of talent in Blackfoot.”
Blackfoot came within inches of the 2019 4A State title, cruising over Minico and Nampa in the early rounds of the 2019 playoffs, but ultimately fell short 49-35 against Kuna in the 2019 Milkbowl Championship.
Like many schools coming fresh into fall football season, the Broncos will be looking to close some gaps left open from graduated athletes. The Broncos lost All-Conference quarterback Craig Young and First Team All-State selection Reece Robinson after the 2019 season.
Despite the loss, the Broncos have plenty of returning talent to help them through the fall season. All-State running back Teegan Thomas returns for the team along with a collection of veteran defensive athletes.
Ackley plans to run a spread offense in the 2020 season, with the goal to have the athletes learning his full expectations, according to the Bingham County Chronicle. The Chronicle reports Jace Grimmett will start under center for the Broncos this season, who already got some experience as starting quarterback.
”The thing about high school football is, every year’s a brand new team, no matter what the last team was like,” Ackley told the Idaho State Journal. “I very much respect coach Buck and respect what they’ve had going on in the program. He certainly is someone that set a high bar in Blackfoot. ... We’re going to move it in a little bit different direction than they were, but he’s already built a great foundation to continue to build a great football program there.”
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated Blackfoot High School scores and schedules throughout the season.