Photo By Kyle Riley
Written By: Will Hoenike
Tom Harrison’s Weiser Wolverines are going to start the season with a pair of long road trips. First, its south to Buhl to take on the Indians in week one. Then, it is north to Kellogg to take on the Wildcats in week two.
Then, it will be home to start a four-week homestand in Washington County that could make or break the Wolverines’ 2019 season.
Harrison’s squad started strong last fall, winning four of its first five games en route to the 3A state playoffs. An opening-round loss to South Fremont ultimately ended the team’s season but there’s optimism coming into the fall.
Starting quarterback Brody Von Brethorst has graduated and it appears sophomore Brett Spencer is going to take the keys to the offense this fall. The offense averaged about 23 points per game in 2018, but Harrison believes better familiarity with the offense and better blocking will help that number get larger this season. Seniors Angel Magana and Nate McDaniel return along the offensive front for Weiser and, though Von Brethorst, Braydon Bumgarner, and Logan Wood are all gone, seniors Layten Tolman and Tim Reed return to the offensive backfield.
Another Von Brethorst, Kooper, will add a weapon on the outside in the passing game when Spencer drops to throw.
A big weapon for Weiser is its special teams, led by Magana, an all-state kicker/punter. The senior has demonstrated an ability to help the team flip the field when punting and connect on kicks when kicking. It’s a tool that not every team has.
On defense, Reed and Tolman will fill roles at linebacker, flanking Magana in the middle, with McDaniel leading the defensive line. Spencer should see some time in the secondary along with the younger Von Brethorst.
Harrison has won ten state titles over his career as a head coach and led Weiser to five wins in year one last fall. The Snake River Valley Conference can be daunting, with Fruitland and Homedale looking strong again this fall with Parma and Payette showing signs of gaining ground on the rest of the conference. Weiser gets Fruitland and Parma at home to start conference play before closing out the regular season on the road against Payette and Homedale.
With the players and staff being in the second year of the program, it’s reasonable to think that Weiser should make gains in 2019. Harrison says the players know the offensive scheme better and have worked hard in the offseason on blocking to help make it more explosive. If Spencer is able to maintain the growth he has shown to this point at such a pivotal position (quarterback), look for Weiser to again be firmly in the mix for a 3A state playoff spot. He’ll need – and get – help from his teammates but, if he plays well, the Wolverines will be able to contend in the 3A classification.