Salmon River High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Charlie Shepherd
Years as Head Coach: 10th Season
Record Last Year: 10-1, State Champion
State Titles: 1999, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
Canyon Harper, RB/LB, 11
Peyton Baugh, FB/LB, 12
Devan Branstetter, QB/LB, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Canyon Harper, First Team All-State
Joe Fredrickson, First Team All-State
Peyton Baugh, First Team All-Conference
Devan Branstetter, First Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Johnny Shepherd, All-State DE
Tucker Boyd, QB/LB
Clayton Shepherd, WR/S
Gabe Gonzalez, FB/DL
Incoming impact players:
Ethan Shepherd, QB, 10
Randy McClure, WR/LB, 11, was hurt most of last year
Written by: Sven Alskog
Winning back-to-back state championships is no easy task, let alone taking four in a five year span. To say the Salmon River Savages have dominated the 1AD2 ranks over that time period would be an understatement.
Behind a First Team All-State talent in Canyon Harper, Salmon River ran through the gauntlet of Deary, Carey and Kendrick in the state playoffs to take home a title last season.
While the offense will need to find a way to replace quarterback Tucker Boyd, it should help immensely to have such a quality running back returning in Harper, who also plays linebacker on defense.
Describing the strength of the offense for 10th year Head Coach Charlie Shepherd is simple.
"Extremely potent ground game with Canyon Harper at running back and Peyton Baugh at fullback."
Baugh in his own right was also a First Team All-Conference selection last season.
At the quarterback position it looks like Devan Branstetter will be the option. Branstetter is also a team leader on defense from his linebacker post, where he earned First Team All-Conference accolades a year ago.
Ethan Shepherd will be a sophomore this year and could be a new-look option as well from the quarterback position depending on how things shape up as the season goes on for the Savages.
When an experienced coach like Shepherd says finding someone who can kick the ball is the biggest offensive area to improve upon you know the unit is looking good.
The defense should be outstanding as well.
"[We] have experience and speed in the defensive backfield," said Shepherd.
He mentioned the interior of the defensive line as the area he hopes to see improvement on in the upcoming year.
"Our defensive coach Ty Medley has the ability to come up with a game plan to stop the bigger, strong teams," added Shepherd.
First Team All-State defensive and offensive lineman Joe Fredrickson is back and will be an anchor on each front. The senior stalwart and the other linemen around him will have a big say in just how successful the Savages run game is this season.
"[I'm excited] to see how good our running game is and to see how dominant our defense might be," said Shepherd.
Some great games are on the schedule early to get Salmon River ready for conference play, highlighted by a road matchup in Cottonwood in week two against the 1AD1 perennial power Pirates.
It's clear there are two must-see games on the schedule for the Savages.
"Salmon River at Prairie because Prairie is one of the best teams in the state at the 1AD1 level," said Shepherd. "Salmon River vs. Tri-Valley because Tri-Valley is considered the top team in our league."
The matchup that will have huge implications on the playoff seeding is the one with the Titans at home in Riggins on October 13.
If the Savages can win that contest it will set up the school well for a three-peat, a rarity at any classification in Idaho.