Head Coach: Colter Evans
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: JV coordinator and GA at SVU
State Titles: None
Todd Hunsaker, LB/RB, 12
Dustin Thompson, OL/LB, 12
Jace Smith, OL/DL, 12
Caleb Watkins, OL/DL, 12
Shad Curry, OL/DL,12
Easton Pendelbery, WR/CB, 12
Scott Hunsaker, WR/S, 11
Ethan Suter, OL/DL,11
Will Torman, OL/DE, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Todd Hunsaker , all-state
Dustin Thompson, all-conference
Jace Smith, all-conference
Shad Curry, all-conference
Scott Hunsaker, all-conference
Ethan Suter, all-conference
Will Torman, all-conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Brock Thompson, QB, playmaking ability
Thomas Nielson, WR/S, speed and explosiveness
James Seelos, WR/C, leadership
Conner Viele, OL/DL, physicality
Lane Barnes, OL/DL, strength
Hunter Bowen, WR/C, hands and route running
Photo By: Kyle Riley - Todd Hunsaker
Incoming impact players:
Tugg Kap, WR/LB, 10
Craig Hansen, WR/LB, 11
Braxton Gambles, C, 11
Written by Dylan Carder, Sports Director KIFI/KIDK
Entering his third season at the helm in Soda Springs, head coach Colter Evans has seen a pattern develop. His Cardinals make the 2A state playoffs, only to get shut out in the first round to the eventual state runners up. In 2017, they lost to Firth 54-0. Last season, it was a 42-0 defeat to North Fremont. The Cardinals seek to keep the first part of that going with a return trip to state, but they would love to change their fortunes and pick up some playoff wins.
Whatever path Soda Springs takes this season, it will be the ground game that takes them there. Paving the way will be an experienced offensive line that brings back five all-conference selections. Seniors Dustin Thompson, Jace Smith, and Shad Curry all return as well as juniors Ethan Suter and Will Torman.
If that isn't intimidating enough, running behind that group will be senior all-state running back Todd Hunsaker. Evans says he spent the entire summer either working on his game or bulking up in the weight room, so he should be ready to carry the load for the Cardinals.
Evans says the Cardinals will look to control games with a ground attack that he says will be “fun to watch.” The running game will take on added importance for Soda Springs after losing quarterback Brock Thompson and his play-making ability from last season. The Cardinals are also losing a trio of key pass catchers in Thomas Nielson, James Seelos, and Hunter Bowen. That void could be eased by the emergence of receivers Tugg Kap and Craig Hansen who will moving up to varsity this season. They also return to the receiving corps Scott Hunsaker and Easton Pendelbery.
Defensively, the Cardinals will rely on a solid group of linebackers that Evans says will allow them to “play downhill.” Hunsaker and Thompson are a couple of key returners from that unit. Several of their returning all-conference players are two way guys, with all five of the offensive line also playing defensive line as well. Another key to success for the Cardinals, according to coach Evans, is to reduce turnovers on offense and to shore up tackling on defense.
The Cardinals will be looking to close the gap between them and the top of the South East Idaho Conference in 2019. They will take on the top two teams from last season with a home game against Aberdeen October 18 and then a trip to Dayton to face defending conference champ West Side on October 24.
Ball control and a dominate running game will be key for Soda Springs if they are to take the next step and work their way through the South East Idaho Conference and the 2A ranks.