Salmon River High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Charlie Shepherd
Years as Head Coach: 11th Season
Record Last Year: 6-3
State Titles: '99, '07, '09, '12, '13, '15, '16
Canyon Harper, RB/LB, 12
Randy McClure, WR/DB, 12
Reece Jones, DE/OL, 12
Ethan Shepherd, WR/S, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Canyon Harper, Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-State RB/LB
Randy McClure, All-Conference WR/DB
Reece Jones, All-Conference DE/OL
Ethan Shepherd, All-Conference WR/S
Key Players lost from last year:
Joe Fredrickson, All-State OL, All-Conference DL
Peyton Baugh, All-Conference LB/FB
Devan Branstetter, All-Conference QB/K/LB
Photo By: Steve Conner - #21 Canyon Harper
Written By: Sven Alskog
It has been quite the offseason for the town of Riggins.
From trials and tribulations to great success stories, there has been a little bit of everything.
Back in January, five-time state football champion head coach Charlie Shepherd suffered a serious injury at the sawmill which he works. Due to the incident, Charlie would have to have skin graph surgery and stay at St. Alphonsus in Boise while he built up the strength to eventually go to McCall, then home.
The 11th year head coach made it through the scary situation and is now set to embark on another season on the sideline for the Savages.
As Charlie began to improve his strength and get back to his routine, former Salmon River star Leighton Vander Esch was getting set for the NFL draft, where he would go on to be selected in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys.
While their journeys to a new football season were very different, each is now getting ready for the next season with high aspirations.
For Charlie and the Savages, two-way star Canyon Harper returns after taking home Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors from his linebacker position and First Team All-State accolades for both his play at linebacker and as a running back on offense.
One of the key pieces that opened up holes for Harper was lineman Joe Fredrickson, also a First Team All-State selection who has now graduated. With Fredrickson gone, Reece Jones will take on an even larger leadership role on each line.
Returners Randy McClure and Ethan Shepherd each earned All-Conference honors on each side of the ball last season from the receiver and defensive back positions, giving Salmon River some nice continuity at those spots.
McClure and Shepherd will have a new signal-caller throwing them the ball however after the graduation of quarterback Devan Branstetter. It would be safe to assume that whoever lines up under center will rely heavily on that receiver duo and the strong backfield presence of Harper to keep the offense headed in the right direction.
With an eventful offseason in their rearview mirror, the boys from Riggins appear ready to again challenge for some hardware at state after being knocked out by Deary in the first round a year ago.
It will be a tough task in a loaded Long Pin Conference, a challenge which Salmon River will face head-on. The first game for the Savages comes August 31 at home against a Lapwai team with lots of experience.