Photo By Chris Melgaard - #14 Brody Osen
Written by Brandon Hill
A 3-1 Great Basin Conference record propelled the Cayon Ridge Riverhawks into the 4A state playoffs.
The Riverhawks, after dropping their first four contests scoring a combined 13 points, managed to find their footing down the stretch, defeating Mountain Home and Wood River 34-22 and 40-18, respectively.
Canyon Ridge promptly exited the playoffs in a 50-7 loss to Bishop Kelly, but seventh-year Head Coach Sean Impomeni said all the pieces remain to build a competitive squad in 2020, thanks in large part to returning senior quarterback Brody Osen.
“Our returning starter at quarterback and the supporting cast will allow us to get more guys involved offensively,” Impomeni said.
Osen helped turn the Canyon Ridge offense around late in the season last year, and according to Impomeni will play a central part in developing the younger offensive weapons.
“Keys to our offense this year are going to have to be deception, discipline and execution,” he said. “Our junior class as a whole will need to step up big this year. Most of them played a big role as sophomores and they need to continue to grow for us to be successful.”
Junior receiver Carson Sainsbury will be one of those juniors looking to impress his head coach, filling in for now-graduated River Osen, one of Brody’s favorite targets in the passing game. On the ground, juniors Braden Clark and Wyatt Somers will look to ease the pressure off Osen and draw opposing secondaries in.
“We need to be balanced this year,” Impomeni said. “We have less size up front and a few more fast guys on the edge.”
On defense, the Riverhawks will need to lock down dynamic offenses on a more consistent basis. Canyon Ridge’s biggest loss came against Vallivue and dual-threat quarterback Lan Larison.
Impomeni said this year’s defense will operate in a 4-4 scheme, with smaller athletes added to the roster. But what they lack in size, Impomeni said they make up for in speed and ball-hawking ability, especially at the linebacker position. Clark and Somers, when not carrying the rock, will look to bring down opposing backs at linebacker.
“We have smaller guys that can run to the football,” he said. “It is a team game and everyone plays a part. A year of maturity has really helped them.”
While Canyon Ridge faces a tough slate of conference competition, Impomeni said recent COVID-19 outbreaks across the state will prove to be his team’s biggest challenge throughout the year. Regardless, Impomeni said he remains optimistic about this year’s outcome.
“With COVID being our toughest opponent, we just want the opportunity to play together,” he said.
Canyon Ridge looks to secure a Week 1 win against Wood River Aug. 28. Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated Warhawk scores and schedules throughout the season.