Raft River High School
Conference: 1AD1 Snake River Conference
Classification: 1A D1
Head Coach: Brian Poole
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 20 total years, 15 as a head coach
Record Last Year: 9-2
State Titles: 1986, 1994, 2001, 2004
Ivan Poole (pictured) (Sr, OL/DL)
Braegon Erickson (Sr, RB/LB)
Luke Gilbert (Sr, OL)
Austin Tuckett (Sr, TE)
Wacy Holtman (Jr, RB/LB)
Returning Players with Honors:
Photo By: Mark Borth - #56 Ivan Poole
“Key Players” lost from last year:
QB/DB Dalton Peterson
LB/TE Wil Holtman
RB Max Boden
Incoming “impact” players:
QB Kolten Hitt (Jr)
WR/DB Kayden Hitt (Jr)
OL/DL Spencer Boden (Jr)
OL Braxton Poole (Soph)
DB Colton Koller
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
In Idaho eight-man football, it is commonplace for teams to come and go, excelling with one class and then struggling with a smaller one. Such is the nature of smaller schools.
A few schools in Idaho seem to buck that trend. One of them is the Raft River Trojans from Malta. The Trojans went 9-2 overall last season, falling in the state semifinals to 1A Division 1 runner-up Valley.
Going back to 2009, the Trojans have won less than five games just one time. We could go back further, including four state championships, but you get the idea.
Bad years happen to everyone. But we don’t think it looks like 2015 is going to be a bad one for Raft River.
Though head coach Brian Poole and his staff will need to replace starting quarterback Dalton Peterson, the Trojans return two of its three starting offensive linemen in seniors Ivan Poole and Luke Gilbert. Junior Spencer Boden and sophomore Braxton Poole should also see expanded roles for the Trojans, giving the team a deep offensive and defensive front.
“We lost some very good skilled players and explosive backs from a year ago,” Poole told IdahoSports.com. “We will need to become a better passing team.”
In steps junior Kolten Hitt. Behind that veteran and deep offensive front, Hitt takes over for Peterson. Senior tight end Austin Tuckett figures to be a favorite target when the Trojans throw the ball, along with another Hitt – junior wideout Kayden. The team should also benefit from some depth at the running back position as seniors Braegon Erickson and Wacy Holtman will see carries in the Raft River offensive attack.
The Trojans could see an even bigger impact with Holtman’s return on defense – the senior missed last season with an injury – at linebacker. Poole’s goal of making opposing offensive one-dimensional will hinge largely on the tackling of Holtman and Erickson at linebacker behind the aforementioned defensive front, led by the all-conference performer Poole.
“We must become a better team against the pass,” Poole said of areas his staff is working to improve. “Tackling will be a key to our success on defense.”
The Trojans will use Hitt (Kayden) and Colton Koller in the defensive backfield. The team allowed over 35 points (remember, we’re talking eight-man football here) just one time last season, including six games of eight points or fewer.
Raft River is part of a deep and dangerous division. The 1A Division 1 Snake River Conference includes Valley, which reached the 1A Division 1 state championship game last season and returns a lot of firepower, as well as perennial power Oakley.
The Trojans face both those teams on the road, putting extra importance on the team’s four homes games, which includes dates against conference foes Hagerman (25 total wins, including one state championship, over past three seasons), Glenns Ferry and Shoshone.