Head Coach: Chad Evans
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: Assistant at Raft River
Record Last Year: 6-3
State Titles: 1986, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2016
Keegan Chatburn, QB/LB, 12
Rylee Spencer, WR/LB, 12
Cutler Erickson, RB/DB, 12
Garrett Hutchison, OL/LB, 12
Justin Schauman, WR/LB, 11
Key Players lost from last year:
Quintin Ward, RB/LB, go to guy offensively and very physical linebacker with a strong leadership role.
Braxton Poole, OL/DL, physical kid that was capable of disrupting offensive backfields
Christian Lloyd, OL/DL, BIG physical kid that does not come around very often at the 1A level
Duke Kempton, OL/DL, big strong kid that other players would rally around
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #3 Keegan Chatburn
Incoming impact players:
Gage Gregerson, RB/LB, 11
Ryan Speath, OL/DL, 10
Laton Taylor, WR/DB, 11
Carson Durfee, WR/LB, 11
Kolton Durfee, OL/DL, 11
Written By: Sven Alskog
It was a hard-luck hiatus from the state playoffs last season for Raft River, as the stacked 1AD1 Snake River Conference only had room for three teams.
After coming so close to a spot, the Trojans are as hungry as anybody to get back into the mix among the elite teams in the classification.
Following five years of success under Brian Poole, Chad Evans takes over the head coach duties on the sidelines. Evans is a Raft River graduate and has been an assistant on Poole’s staff as well.
Five of eight starters return on each side of the ball for the boys from Malta, highlighted by quarterback/linebacker Keegan Chatburn, wide receiver/linebacker Rylee Spencer and running back/defensive back Cutler Erickson. Garret Hutchison and Justin Schauman are the other returning starters for the Trojans.
“One of the biggest strengths we have going for us is returning five of eight starters on both sides of the ball. We should be able to pick right up where we left off last year and add in a few more things to balance out our offense,” said Evans.
He likes what he has on defense as well.
“Should be able to line up eight solid athletes that are capable of playing multiple positions, with good solid backups when needed. Going to focus on playing strong gaps and keeping opponents between the tackles.”
Schauman and Hutchison will be critical pieces of the defense from the linebacker position, as each brings leadership and experience to the field each week.
You can always count on Raft River to have strong line play on each side of the ball, so the big key is how successful the skill position players can be.
With Erickson likely to receive plenty of reps running the ball out of the backfield, the incoming receiver group of Laton Taylor and Carson Durfee will team with Spencer in an attempt to recreate the offensive prowess of the 2016 state championship group.
The 2017 Trojans were no slouches in regards to putting points on the board, tallying over 40 points on five occasions.
Against some of the upper echelon teams this year like Valley, Challis and Oakley, Raft River will look for performances like that to get back into the playoff mix.
Raft River will be a tough out this year, with a nice mix of returners and incoming impact players ready to make big contributions for the first year head coach.
“I’m excited about watching kids develop into physical and emotional leaders. Have already seen great progress from Keegan Chatburn, Rylee Spencer and Garrett Hutchison at summer camps. Excited to watch kids grow into their full potential,” said Evans.
As part of a 1AD1 showcase doubleheader on September 1 at 1 p.m., the Trojans will take on the Genesee Bulldogs in their season opener. The other game from Middleton High School pits defending champion Prairie against Valley at 4 p.m.