West Jefferson High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
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Head Coach: Jason Taylor
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 16 Years Overall as Head Coach
Record Last Year: 6-4
State Titles: 2007
Braxton Ramirez, RB/DB, senior
Bridger Burtenshaw, RB/DB, senior
Dallin Grover, RB/DB, senior
Milo Johnson, RB/LB, senior
Kelton White, OL/DL, junior
Makay Terry, OL/DL, senior
Jed Torgerson, OL/DL, junior
Returning Players with Honors:
Braxton Ramirez, All-Idaho RB/DB & Nuclear Conference Player of the Year
Key Players lost from last year:
Kendon Barzee, QB/DB
Shad Pancheri, TE/LB
Bridger Jacobs, RB/DB
Clay Roundy, TE/LB
Tristen Wright, OL/DL
Daniel Lemus, OL/DL
McKray Sullivan, OL/LB
Koy White, OL/DL
Gabe Pancheri, OL/DL
Written by: Matt Harris
If the West Jefferson Panthers are fortunate enough to emerge from the Nuclear Conference with a playoff bid in tow, they’ll know for certain one thing: they are ready for whatever comes their way.
That’s how fourth year head coach Jason Taylor sees the potential journey shaking out this season.
“We have a very tough conference and schedule this year,” he said. “We will be battle tested.”
Taylor’s not kidding either. The Panthers open on the road on Aug. 25 at Soda Springs before hosting a three-game homestand against three 3A teams – Sept. 1 versus South Fremont, Sept. 8 against Teton, and Sept. 16 in a matchup against Homedale.
Then, the Nuclear Conference schedule gets underway with a trip to Ririe on Sept. 22, a home date with North Fremont on Sept. 29, a bye week on Oct. 6, a road visit to Firth on Oct. 13, and the senior night in Terreton against Salmon on Oct. 20.
“Firth may be the team to beat in our conference,” Taylor said.
This year’s edition of the West Jefferson Panthers will bring back some key players from last season’s 6-4 team, but many newcomers as well.
Kelton White, Makay Terry, and Jed Torgerson will anchor the offensive and defensive lines, while the Panthers’ deep stable of running backs will give the team plenty of options. Those running backs include
Bridger Burtenshaw, Dallin Grover, Milo Johnson, and All-Idaho selection Braxton Ramirez. Taylor noted that there is talent at those positions, but some seasoning will be needed.
“We’re young and need to grow up and compete at a high level quickly,” he said of his offense which rushed for over 3,500 yards last season.
Running the ball is easily the strength of West Jefferson, a double-wing run-on-all-downs team. However, Taylor said his team is working on improving their passing game. An improved passing game opens the door for more options in the double-wing and also keeps the defense guessing.
Defensively, look for White, Terry, and Torgerson to man the defensive line, with Johnson behind them at linebacker. The trio of Ramirez, Burtenshaw, and Grover will be expected to anchor the secondary.
Taylor says that his defense needs to improve in a couple of areas.
“We want to take away teams best plays and limit big plays,” he said.
Since the head coach arrived in Terreton, West Jefferson has been known as a knock ‘em down, drag-it-out, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust team that will grind you down for all 48 minutes. Expect more of the same in 2017 – and expect West Jefferson to make a run to the playoffs once again, especially if their passing game continues to develop.