Prairie High School
Conference: 1AD1 Whitepine League
Classification: 1A D1
Head Coach: Ryan Hasselstrom
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 14 total seasons at Prairie as head coach or assistant coach
Record Last Year: 12-0
State Titles: 2008, 2014 (defending state champions)
Jake Bruner (QB/DB)
Isaiah Shears (WR/LB)
Devin Bruegeman (WR/DB)
Terran Peery (RB/LB)
Calvin Hinkelman (RB/LB)
Bobby Hood (OL/DL)
Philip Spencer (OL/DL)
Returning Players with Honors:
Bruner (1A Player of the Year)
Shears (1st-Team All-State DL
2nd-Team All-State WR)
Hinkelman (1st-Team All-State LB)
Photo By: Clayton Bunt - #11 Jake Bruner
“Key Players” lost from last year:
RB Hunter McWilliams (Leading Rusher)
WR Rhett Schlader (Leading Receiver)
DL Lucas Arnzen
DL Tanner Ross
DB Mason Dalgliesh
Incoming “impact” players:
Brandon Anderson (Jr, RB/LB)
Lucas Wemhoff (Jr, RB/DB)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
Let’s be honest: an encore is going to be tough for the Prairie Pirates in 2015.
Not because the team isn’t talented – the Pirates return three first-team All-State performers to an eight-man team.
But 2014 was some kind of dominant. The kind of season that you just don’t see duplicated very often, especially coming out of arguably the top 1A league in Idaho, the White Pine.
It’s a conference that has won five of the past ten 1A Division 1 state championships, including Prairie’s undefeated and (relatively) untested campaign that saw exactly one team – Oakley – stay within 30 points on the scoreboard. The team outscored its opposition over 12 games, 688-182.
It’s simply not easy to accomplish what Prairie accomplished last season. However … could the team repeat as 1A Division 1 state champs?
As we mentioned, the Pirates return three All-State players to the lineup, including reigning 1A State Player of the Year Jake Bruner. As a junior, Bruner ran for 19 touchdowns and threw another 35 touchdown passes on offense and contributed six interceptions and over 50 tackles on defense. Isaiah Shears was All-State on both sides of the ball, first-team as a defensive end and second-team as a wide receiver. And Calvin Hinkelman had over 100 tackles, including nearly 20 for loss, as a first-team All-State linebacker.
That’s some core.
Head coach Ryan Hasselstrom concedes his team doesn’t quite have the depth it had last season (fellow All-Stater’s Hunter McWilliams, Rhett Schlader, John Mager, Lucas Arnzen and Mason Dalgliesh are gone), but knows there is still good talent on his roster.
“Staying healthy is key this year,” Hasselstrom told IdahoSports.com. “We don’t have the depth on the roster that we had last year. If we can stay healthy and fill some holes, we hope to be a contender in the conference again this season.”
It’s a conference that includes perennial toughies Genesee, Kamiah and Troy, so nothing is a given. But Prairie should still be at (or near) the top.
The Pirates return two starters upfront in Philip Spencer and Bobby Hood. On top of Shears, the team will also return Devin Bruegeman on the outside with Terran Perry at running back on offense and linebacker on defense. Juniors Brandon Anderson (RB/LB) and Lucas Wemhoff (RB/DB) will look to join the party as well to help fill the holes Hasselstrom mentioned.
“Our focus will continue to be to push a fast-paced offense with a good mix of run and pass.” Hasselstrom noted.
Repeating 2014’s overwhelming dominance will be tough. Repeating 2014’s ultimate finish – state champion – is possible nonetheless.
“We have been blessed with some great kids and success over the past few years,” Hasselstrom concluded. “And it has been very rewarding.”