Photo By Patty Theurer - #18 Thomas Luthy
Written by Will Hoenike
Long-time head coach Jason Roeber has been around Idaho City to know how the routine goes. A good group of seniors comes along, then graduates, then it’s time to plug some holes.
Idaho City lost just such a senior class after winning seven games last fall. Juan McFarlane was the conference’s co-offensive player of the year and a steady player on the defensive side of the ball. Quarterback Hunter Stunja is gone. So are talented play-making defensive ends Drew Pawek and Quinten Turner.
“We lost a lot of great players from last season,” Roeber said. “We are looking forward to seeing a few kids step up and fill some pretty big shoes this year.”
Roeber pointed out a player on each side of the ball that he’s excited to see this season.
On offense, it’s senior Thomas Luthy. He’s stepping in for Stunja at quarterback and Roeber likes what he has seen.
“We are really excited to see Thomas Luthy step out of the shadows this year,” Roeber said. “He is a guy who has filled a lot of roles for us in the past three seasons and now will be leading the way.”
The Wildcats have traditionally been a run-heavy offense, but the coaches may try to stretch the field a bit more. A big key will be the team’s offensive line, which is essentially an entirely new group.
On defense, Roeber pointed out senior Trayton Nelson (who will double as a running back on offense). Blessed with size, quickness and pedigree – his dad, Tyrel, was an all-conference athlete at Idaho City before joining the track and field team at Boise State – Nelson will be a key piece of the Wildcat defense. As a junior, he was in on more than 80 tackles.
“Nelson will be leading the 2020 crew,” Roeber said. “He will bring with him the high standards set by classes who played before him.”
Nelson will be joined on the defensive side of the ball by Luthy at linebacker, senior Nathan Kindleburger along the defensive line, and junior Xander Thompson in the secondary.
In Idaho City’s seven wins last season, the team allowed just 100 points, an average of just over 14 points per game. If the Wildcats can tackle well and duplicate that success on the defensive side of the ball, it will buy the offense a little time to find its stride.
Idaho City has reached the 1A Division 1 postseason each of the last two seasons, falling to Oakley from District 4 in the quarterfinals each time. With the new playoff structure in the classification – 12 total teams; five conference champions and seven at-large teams – the Wildcats seem to be in position to reach the postseason once again this season.
The Western Idaho Conference, Idaho City’s conference, has sent two teams in recent seasons. While the conference is only guaranteed one (the conference champion) under the new structure, the number of at-large berths could mean two, or even three, more WIC teams end up playing postseason football.
Check back with IdahoSports.com throughout the season for updated Idaho City scores and schedules.