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2022 Statewide Boys Soccer Preview
All three defending champions have vulnerabilities. Which teams can take advantage?
Published: 8/15/2022 3:35:12 PM



With the opening weekend of statewide competition fast approaching, here's a look at the teams and players that could contend for postseason honors in 2022.

Class 5A

The Southern Idaho Conference continued its dominance over the state in boys soccer as for the ninth consecutive year, the league produced the state champion when  Timberline captured its first state title since 2015. The last non-Treasure Valley team to win a title was Post Falls in 2012.

2021 looked like it might be the year a team outside the SIC might break through as Lake City entered the state tournament as the number one seed. However, the Timberwolves were upset by Boise in the semifinals to set up an all-SIC final assuring at least another year would pass before a school from another part of the state brings home a trophy.

The SIC will be deep and talented as always in 2022. The league’s four representatives at state; Boise, Rocky Mountain, Timberline, and Borah all figure to be good yet again. These teams return multiple entries from last year’s all-state team and should be the class of the 5A classification once again.

Defending state champion Timberline returns an impressive six all-state players highlighted by three first teamers in Ben Anderson, Kai Hatten, and Jake Anderson. Borah brings back Carter Griffith while Rocky Mountain’s Rylan McPherson was named to the second team as a freshman.

Eagle and Centennial will also look to make some noise while 5A newcomer Middleton will also hope to find a place in the upper half of a deep conference.

Another exciting race should unfold in Eastern Idaho. The High Country Conference looks poised to be a three-team race between
Madison, Thunder Ridge, and Rigby. Any combination of these teams could find themselves in Idaho Falls for the state tournament.

Thunder Ridge’s Luis Ramora will be a key player to watch in this league. Eastern Idaho will hope for a better showing as the state tournament comes close to home after both of its 2021 representatives; Thunder Ridge and Madison went two and out.

Up north, Lake City should be the favorite in the Inland Empire League while Lewiston looks to continue some momentum built by a surprising trip to state in 2021. The Timberwolves lose a sizable amount of talent from what many thought to be the best team in the state going into the state tournament and the Bengals could capitalize behind Noah Acord and other good players. Coeur d'Alene will look to play spoiler against their crosstown rivals as North Idaho hopes to be represented by two teams at state yet again.

Class 4A

Bishop Kelly finally got over the hump in 2021 winning its first state title since 1996. After squeaking past conference rival Caldwell and edging top seeded Jerome in overtime, the Knights dispatched Sandpoint 3-1 in the championship to end a quarter century title drought. They did lose some key pieces from that team, but having Colton Crawford back will be huge.

Bishop Kelly’s biggest threat in the SIC should be Caldwell, who brings back Jayden Pineda yet again as they seek to re-emerge as conference and state champions.

Vallivue, a team that is just two years removed from a state title, could also challenge, especially with Alex Barragan being back.

Skyview, who rejoins the 4A SIC after a four-year stint at the 5A level should also contend right away after being a middle of the pack team in the 5A SIC.

In the Great Basin Conference, teams will continue to work towards catching ground on Jerome. Though the Tigers played to four ties, they still finished comfortably ahead of Twin Falls thanks to the zero in the loss column. The Bruins will look to stay on pace with the Tigers and will have a great opportunity to do so as Jerome lost some key pieces. Canyon Ridge and Wood River will be dark horses to keep an eye on.

Eastern Idaho should see two-team races unfolding in both of its districts as Preston and Pocatello look to be neck-and-neck in District 5 while Hillcrest and Skyline expect to be co-favorites in District 6. If a team is to surprise, perhaps Century can step up in the Southeast Idaho Conference or Blackfoot in the High Country Conference. The only returning all-state player from Eastern Idaho teams at the 4A level is Hillcrest’s Zackary Stephens.

In Northern Idaho, Sandpoint seems to be head and shoulders above its 4A colleagues. As Moscow and Lakeland look to close the gap with the Bulldogs, Sandpoint eyes bigger goals. After falling short in the state championship game last year, they still seek their first state title since 2012. Additionally, the Bulldogs will also look to be more competitive against 5A competition in the combined 4A/5A Inland Empire League.

Class 3A

The 3A class saw Sugar-Salem win its first boys soccer state title in 2021. The Diggers cruised past Bonners Ferry in the first round, held off Teton in the semifinals, then cruised to their first ever state title with a win over McCall-Donnelly.

Teton should once again be Sugar-Salem’s biggest threat in the Mountain Rivers Conference. Devin Petterson will be a key player for the Diggers as they seek back-to-back titles.

District 5 also looks to be a two-team race as Marsh Valley and American Falls should go at it for a conference title. After being upset by Teton in the state tournament, American Falls beat Bonners Ferry and edged Sun Valley in penalty kicks to win the consolation bracket.

Marsh Valley lost the state play-in game to Teton and will look to get back to the tournament after missing out last season. American Falls returns some talent with all-state players Marco Ponce and Julio Lopez back for the Beavers.

In the High Desert Conference, it should be Sun Valley then everyone else yet again. The Cutthroats tied with Bliss and Kimberly in the regular season, but the Bulldogs were able pull the upset in the state tournament to send their conference rivals to the left side of the bracket as Kimberly went on to finish in fourth place, losing the third place game to Teton.

They’ll look to stay on pace with a talented Sun Valley team in the regular season and should be the Cutthroats’ biggest threat once again as Angel Heredia is back for the Bulldogs alongside other talented players.

Sun Valley returns two first team all-state players in Blake Currey and Carter Sammis, the latter of which received the honors as a freshman. Buhl, Bliss, Gooding, and Filer are other teams that will look to continue catching ground on Sun Valley in the conference. Edgar Sanchez for Buhl and Rigo Magana for Bliss will be other players to keep an eye on in what is arguably the deepest 3A conference in the state.

In District 3, Weiser came out on top in the regular season, but it was McCall-Donnelly that had the last laugh as the Vandals upset the Wolverines in the district tournament. Once in the state tournament, McCall showed grit as they edged Coeur d'Alene Charter in penalty kicks then Kimberly in the semifinals, but their luck ran out in the state championship game against Sugar-Salem.

Even with the runner-up finish, the Vandals built plenty of momentum to take into the new season and they should once again be Weiser’s biggest threat in the Snake River Valley Conference. Ambrose should also contend as Weiser looks to secure another unbeaten regular season in league play.

Look to North Idaho to find one of the more exciting conference races in the state as the Intermountain League looks to be a three or possibly even four-team race. Coeur d’Alene Charter, Timberlake, and Bonners Ferry are all right in the thick of it while Priest River is capable of stepping up and surprising as well.

The Badgers have a strong player in Nick Eastman who was the only all-state honoree for the league last season. Both representatives at state from last year, Bonners Ferry and CDA Charter, went two and out so the league will hope that the two teams it sends to Twin Falls this year will be able to provide a better showcase of how good their conference can be.

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