Meridian High School
Conference: 5A Southern Idaho Conference - West Division Pod B
Head Coach: Porter Lacey
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: 2009-2012 as head coach at New Plymouth
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: 1986, 2005, 2007
Talon Kreft, Running Back, 12 #28
Colton Smillie, OL, 12 #63
Trenton Hope, Defensive Back, 12 #8
Returning Players with Honors:
Colton Smillie – 2nd Team All SIC
Talon Kreft – 2nd Team All SIC
Photo By: Chris Melgaard - #28Talon Kreft
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Hunter Graefe, OLB/WR, Team Leader and great player
Tyus Archuleta, DB, Good cover corner
Noah Baxter, QB Poised player who made good decisions
Nathan Morton, WR Athletic deep field threat
Incoming “impact” players:
Ty Hollingsworth, QB, 11
Phenoix Hanneman, WR, 11
Isaac Hatvanti, WR, 11
Brady Walling, WR, 11
Baron Wilson, OL, 10
Randal Hooker, DL, 11
Written by: Chris Langrill
A lot of times high school football is about finding something you're good at and exploiting that strength.
The Meridian Warriors figure to be good at running the football this season. In many ways, Meridian's success will depend on the team's success in the ground game.
A successful offense can wear down defenses and control the clock. If the Warriors can do that, they will be on their way toward building upon last season's 4-5 regular-season record.
“We are returning all five offensive linemen and our starting running back,” third-year head coach Porter Lacey said. “Our running game will be much-improved.”
To be sure, not many high schools can say they return all five offensive linemen, much less one that includes Colton Smillie, who was named an all-conference second-teamer last season. That's a rock-solid way to begin a season and establish a running game.
Add in a running back who is familiar with all those offensive linemen – that would be all-conference second-teamer Talon Kreft – and a coach really has something to build an offense around.
Look for Lacey to try to commit to an interior running game and try to improve upon the Warriors' third-down efficiency. If Meridian can add a passing attack after the departures of quarterback Noah Baxter and wide receivers Hunter Graefe and Nathan Morton that would be an added bonus.
A trio of juniors will try to step up and make some plays for Meridian's offense. If Phoenix Hanneman, Isaac Hatvanti and Brady Walling become playmakers they will make the Warriors' offense more dynamic.
“We have some talented, but young, skill players that will add a passing threat,” Lacey said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Meridian has some experience at linebacker and defensive line. But Lacey said the Warriors' formula for success this season begins with improved tackling across the board. He also said it is imperative that his defense limits the deep plays down the field that can break the backs of any defense.
Lacey said he's encouraged by the number of players who have been putting in the hours in the weight room this offseason.
“I'm curious to see how that translates to the football field,” he said.
Of course, Lacey hopes that dedication pays off in every game this upcoming season. But if there was one game that he'd like to see his players put it all together it might be on Sept. 11, when Meridian plays Rocky Mountain. Hero's Night will honor Meridian's police and fire departments and military members.
“It should be a great game with a special theme,” Lacey said.