Lewiston High School
Conference: 5A Inland Empire League
Head Coach: Shawn Nilsson
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: 28 total years at Lewiston High
Record Last Year: 1-8
State Titles: 1993, 1996
QB Colton Richardson
WR/LB Troy Alher
RB/LB Mason Ulrich
WR Kempton Sharp
WR Riley Way
RB Levi Speer
RB Beau Melton
OL Bobbie VanIdour
OL Cody Baumeister
OL Nate Hutson
OL Dustin McClean
OL/LB Josh Moore
DB Alex Light
DB Jaret Driskell
DL Lane Alford
DL Justin Chase
DL Alex Weldy
“Key Players” lost from last year:
All-Conference DL Jordan Weldy
All-Conference LB Reece Baldwin
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
Yes, the Lewiston Bengals won only one of its nine games last season.
Yes, they missed the postseason.
However, a closer look reveals reason for optimism at the only seaport in the state of Idaho.
Of the Bengals eight losses, three were by a touchdown or less. Two more were by 14 points or fewer. The team was only taken out behind the shed twice in nine contests.
Head coach Shawn Nilsson has 40 – FORTY – returning lettermen, including 18 returning starters. Nine starters back on offense, nine starters back on defense.
Translation – yes, it was a tough year in the Lewis Clark Valley. But Lewiston wasn’t that far off last season and has a ton of experience back this season.
Nilsson and his staff are excited about the upcoming season because of those factors as the Bengals look to climb back toward the top of the Inland Empire League and reach the 5A state playoffs.
The Bengals return starting quarterback Colton Richardson. Richardson showed flashes last season as a sophomore, including throwing for nearly 300 yards against Hermiston (OR). He’ll have a game-tested offensive line in front of him, including returners Bobbie VanIdour, Cody Baumeister, Nate Hutson, Dustin McClean and Josh Moore. That group, along with protecting the quarterback, will be tasked with opening holes for running backs Mason Ulrich, Beau Melton and Levi Speer.
Richardson also returns pass-catching targets Kempton Sharp, Troy Alher and Riley Way at wide receiver.
Defensively, the Bengals return a lot of players with game experience, but it’s also a group that allowed nearly 33 points per game, including 44 points per outing in IEL play. Moore and Ulrich will lead the defense from the linebacker position, doubling up with their offensive duties. Helping to keep the pressure off of them will be a defensive line that includes Lane Alford, Justin Chase and Alex Weldy. The Bengals also return Alher, Alex Light and Jaret Driskell in the secondary.
Nilsson’s squad is still relatively young, featuring a lot of juniors, but turning the corner this season could set the stage for a big 2016 season.
After opening the season at Lakeland, the Bengals will have four of its next five on its home field. Lewiston will need to take care of business early because two of its three IEL conference games – October 9 at perennial state power Coeur d’Alene and October 23 at Lake City – are on the road.
A fast (and healthy) start in non-conference play at home should put Lewiston in position to battle for a playoff berth over the final three weeks of the regular season.