Preston High School
Conference: 4A District 5-6 Conference
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Head Coach: Nick Hyde
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: 3 Years
Record Last Year: 2-7
State Titles: 1993
Britten Atkinson, QB
Brayden Parker, LT/DT
Kyler Burbank, WR/DB
Johnny Thams, WR/DB
Ben Seamons, LB
Returning Players with Honors:
Brayden Parker, LT/DT, All-Area selection
Kyler Burbank, WR/DB, All-Area selection
Key Players lost from last year:
Bryce Rindlisbaker, RB/LB
Tyler Selley, RB/LB
Incoming impact players:
Johnny Thames, WR/DB
Riley Parker, LG/LB
Ben Seamons, LB
Cayleb Peck, RB
Written by: Matt Harris
A good way to describe the Preston Indians football season last year would be the old phrase ‘Close, but no cigar.’
The team had several close encounters throughout the course of the season. Unfortunately for Indians fans, the team came up short in a couple of key games and finished the season with a 2-7 record, missing the playoffs.
However, if Preston can come together and play consistent and solid football they could be in line to end their playoff drought, which dates back to the 2011 season.
Returning to the fold this year is senior quarterback Britten Atkinson, who is now a three-year starter at the position. He’ll be joined in the backfield by senior running back Ben Seamons and junior running back Cayleb Peck. Atkinson will have weapons to work with on the outside with Kyler Burbank and Johnny Thames at wide receiver.
On the line, Preston returns senior Brayden Parker who will help anchor the protection, along with junior Riley Parker. The senior Parker is the reigning 4A All-Idaho Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“We have speed in our skill positions and having Britten back at quarterback is a strength,” said head coach Nick Hyde, now in his sixth season leading the Indians program. He added that his team needs to improve on finishing in the red zone this season in order to take the next step.
Defensively, expect Parker to be a key focal point of opposing offenses in their blocking schemes. Their concentration on Parker will open up opportunities for Seamons, Peck, and Riley Parker at linebacker. Thames and Burbank will anchor the secondary.
“Brayden and Ben will be the leaders of an aggressive, high energy defense,” said Hyde, adding that they have to cut down on the number of big plays they gave up last season.
Hyde is also expecting his upper classmen to be leaders in all aspects of the program, including the mentality of the team from the practice field through game day.
“We need to expect to win, every time we step on the field,” he said.
The Indians will begin the season with four of their first five games at home. The journey begins on Aug. 25 when Preston hosts Ogden, Utah, with a game against Star Valley, Wyoming the following week on Sept. 1. The blue-clad crew then hits the road for a game in Idaho Falls against defending 4A state champion Skyline on Sept. 8, before returning home for contests against Shelley on Sept. 15 and Century on Sept. 22.
Preston will then finish the regular season with three of four games on the road, starting Sept. 29 when they face Pocatello at Holt Arena followed by another trip northward to Idaho Falls, this time to face the Idaho Falls Tigers on Oct. 5. The Indians then welcome the Blackfoot Broncos to town on Oct. 13 for senior night before traveling to Moreland for a date against old rival Snake River on Oct. 20.
“Every game is going to be a great game to come and watch,” said Hyde. “Our schedule is loaded with great teams that know how to win championships and our conference is one of the best in 4A. There are plenty of teams that know what it takes to win.”
Hyde hopes that his Preston squad finds the same sort of killer instinct for themselves this season. If they do, they will be in contention for the playoffs.