Salmon River High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
Head Coach: Charlie Shepherd
Years as Head Coach: 8th season
Record Last Year: 3-5
State Titles: 2009, 2012, 2013
Returning Players with Honors:
Devin Buys, second-team, all-conference safety
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Written by: Chris Langrill
After winning back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013, the cupboard was a little bare for Salmon River football coach Charlie Shepherd last season.
The team went through some growing pains as it lost its first five games.
“We grew up pretty fast, and then we closed out the season by winning our last three league games,” said Shepherd, who will be entering his eighth season this fall. “I was pleased with the way we finished.”
Shepherd hopes that late-season momentum carries over to this year.
“We were extremely inexperienced last year,” he said. “But we have all those guys coming back, guys who have had a lot of hard knocks, you might say. They're coming back as experienced veterans. Even our sophomores this year are veterans, because they had to start and play a lot last year as freshman.”
So Shepherd likes the fact that his team is loaded with players who helped turn their season around.
“Even though they're young on paper our players are pretty experienced this year,” Shepherd said.
Devin Buys will be one of this year's team leaders. The senior was a second-team, all-conference safety last season. He played receiver on the offensive side of the ball last year, but will make the transition to running back.
“I'm trying to put him in a position where I can get the ball in his hands more often and utilize his speed,” Shepherd said.
Junior Tucker Boyd will likely be under center in the early stages of the season.
“He's more of a dual threat, run-and-pass type of player,” Shepherd said. “If we want to go with more of a primary passing game we'll go to the sophomore, Devin Brandstetter. He's a left-handed player, more of a pocket passer. And that gives us the option of putting Tucker out as a receiver.”
Salmon River has a history of bringing along players at a young age, and this year won't be an exception to that formula.
“We're expecting big things out of one of our freshmen, Canyon Harper,” Shepherd said of the outside linebacker and receiver. “He brings some size and speed and a little physical play. He's a pretty big kid for a freshman, and he's probably the second fastest kid on the team, if not the fastest.”
Shepherd hopes Harper is able to carry on a Salmon River tradition.
“We've been fortunate to have some pretty exceptional kids come through our program, and all of them had to step up as freshmen and be impact players at the varsity level,” he said. “So we've got a little bit of tradition going, and I hope he can jump right in and fill those shoes.”