Head Coach: Jason Taylor
Years as Head Coach: 5th Season
Previous Experience: Head Coach at Marsh Valley
Record Last Year: 5-4
State Titles: 2007
Jed Torgerson, OL/DL, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Key Players lost from last year:
Braxton Ramirez, RB/DB
Bridger Burtenshaw, RB/DB
Dallin Grover, RB/DB
Milo Johnson, RB/LB
Kelton White, OL/DL
Makay Terry, OL/DL
Written By: Matt Harris
The Nuclear Conference was a mess last season standings-wise. On the final day of the regular season, all five teams still had a mathematical shot at the postseason. In the end, the West Jefferson Panthers were able to emerge from the pile as one of three teams with a bid to the playoffs.
And while their playoff run came to an abrupt end with a loss to Aberdeen in the opening round, head coach Jason Taylor and the Panthers will strap it up once again and get after the expectations they have set for themselves.
“We expect a lot from this group, especially our seniors,” Taylor said.
West Jefferson will continue to run their double-wing offense which Taylor is well known for. He has plenty of players suited to run that offense as well, which is all about being physical, timing, and controlling the clock. The coach said that he hopes his team will continue to see improvement in the passing game in 2018.
“We need to have a better completion percentage,” he said.
Defensively, expect more physicality from the Panthers with their swarming style of play. The Panthers gave up 31.9 points per game last season, a mark that the coaching staff wants to drop dramatically. Taylor said that limiting big plays is their point of emphasis defensively and that they have to do a better job of not allowing those plays to happen.
“Playing defensive assignment football and each player doing his part is our key to success,” he said.
West Jefferson opens the 2018 season on Saturday, Aug. 25 when they host Melba in a cross-state matchup. That is followed by road games against consecutive 3A opponents when they face South Fremont on Aug. 31 and Teton on Sept. 7. The Panthers will then host Malad on Sept. 14.
Following a bye week, conference play begins on Sept. 28 with the Panthers hosting Ririe, a team that Taylor says is really coming into their own. A trip to Ashton awaits West Jefferson on Oct. 5 when they face North Fremont, followed by a road contest at Salmon on Oct. 12 and a home date with Firth on Oct. 19 to complete the regular season.