Wood River High School
Conference: Great Basin (West) Conference
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Head Coach: Kevin Stilling
Years as Head Coach: 8th Season
Record Last Year: 6-4
State Titles: None
Zach Nelson, WR/CB
Owen Gifford, RB/CB
Ashton Owens, RB/OLB
Travis Swanson, RB/LB
Jubal Toothman, LB
Hans Heaphy, DL
Jens Blackman, OL
Caleb Morgan, DL
Jeron Peavey, OL
Returning Players with Honors:
Owen Gifford, Second Team All-State
Jubal Toothman, Second Team All-State
Key Players lost from last year:
Alec Nordsieck and Gunner Gibson
"They accounted for more than half of our offense for three years. They were athletic, they were playmakers who improvised and they'll be missed, especially early. We've got to figure out how we're going to make things happen without those two on the field," Coach Stilling.
Photo By: Willy Harris - #5 Travis Swanson
Incoming impact players:
Turner Maza, RB/S, 11
"He was as exciting a player as there was at camp in June and we are extremely blessed to get a young man like him into our program. Turner is a very physical runner and also has the ability to make people miss. He's already made us better," Coach Stilling.
Written by: Sven Alskog
After struggling through one and two win seasons in 2012 and 2013, the Wood River Wolverines have turned it around with back-to-back six win seasons.
Following the losses of quarterback Alec Nordsieck and Gunner Gibson, it will be a new look offensively, however Head Coach Kevin Stilling feels good about the pieces he has that will be stepping into larger roles.
"Cade Schott [will be] stepping in and finally getting his chance to shine at quarterback. He's the only reason I haven't lost sleep over losing Nordsieck, who's arguably the best quarterback in school history. While they both can chuck it a country mile, they're extremely different kids and quarterbacks. Cade sees the field and the defense extremely well."
Schott will rely on backfield returners Owen Gifford and Travis Swanson to help carry the load, while Zach Nelson should be the go-to receiver. Turner Maza is the impact newcomer and a bruiser from the running back position.
"Gifford, Swanson, Nelson and Maza will all benefit from [Schott's] ability to spread the ball around," said Stilling. "Our offensive line is much better and Cade will have time to make decisions. Our running game was vastly improved at camp and we feel like that trend will continue throughout the season giving us more balance."
Defensively it is a bend but don't break mentality, with the unit being a strength for much of the 2015 season. Wood River held six of ten opponents below 21 points last year, winning each of those games. In the losses opponents scored 35, 27, 41 and 35, respectively.
"Swanson and [Jubal] Toothman were very impressive at camp and they are both entering their third season starting together at inside linebacker," said Stilling.
The duo will need to be the anchors of the defense, with most of the teams in the 4A Great Basin West Conference looking to again rely heavily on running the football.
If Hans Heaphy can be a force up front, the Wolverines could have a chance to slow down some of those potent running attacks, highlighted by Minico and Twin Falls.
Now the task is to avoid allowing the big plays.
"We had a tendency for the letdown in 2015 and we'd like to maintain our defensive consistency over the course of the game more often," said Stilling.
There is plenty to be excited about for the eighth year head coach this season in Hailey.
"We have 13 starters back and it's the third year in a row with a bunch of kids back. We are a group that's eager to get rid of the one and done Wood River history. There are 12 kids who have started since their sophomore year and I'm excited to send them off with their best season yet. In the history of Wood River football there hasn't been a lot to be excited about, save for a few first round exoduses. We'd like to increase that standard."
The Wolverines begin the season with a home contest on August 26 against Pocatello.