Clashing twice last fall, the Carey School and Dietrich eight-man football teams got to know each other pretty well.
Panther coach Lane Kirkland knows one thing for sure about the Blue Devils.
Kirkland understands his unbeaten Panthers will have to stop the speedy, multi-talented Dietrich senior Jaren Stoddard Friday, Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m. on the Devils gridiron to remain unbeaten for its upcoming Oct. 17 home battle with Mackay.
Carey (5-0, 3-0 league) and Dietrich (3-3, 2-2) meet in a key Sawtooth Conference mid-season daytime game Friday.
The Panthers (48.4 ppg offense and 14.4 ppg defense) are coming off a bye week, but Kirkland's Carey defense has allowed only two touchdowns in its last three games and is riding a 21-game winning streak against Sawtooth foes.
After losing its first three games on the road to Shoshone, North Gem and Richfield, Dietrich (39.7 ppg offense, 26.0 ppg defense) has scored 50, 56 and 66 points in its current three-game winning streak—Stoddard piling up 14 touchdowns in those three wins.
Kirkland said, "Jaren is a big kid, strong-legged and long-legged. We'll need to get a good wrap-up on him and drive him back and don't let him loose. He caught passes in the past, but he's now a running back in Dietrich's offset-I and spread."
Offensively, Kirkland said, "I think our running game can be very effective against Dietrich and we'll pass when we can. Dietrich has allowed some points, particularly early in their games. The turnover factor will be important, too. We need to hang onto the ball.
"We've been training hard to go four full quarters. I think our varsity kids are looking forward to the challenge."
Dietrich won 66-20 over Camas County (1-4, 0-3) in Fairfield last Wednesday with Stoddard scoring six times. Dietrich's football program has enjoyed other recent success.
The Blue Devils went 7-3 last fall and placed third in the State 1A Division playoffs, the school's highest football finish ever, but Dietrich lost at Carey 50-12 during the season and again to the Panthers 52-8 in the state semi-finals.
Looking back, Carey has won five consecutive games over Dietrich by a 262-66 margin since the last Blue Devil win in the series, 84-48 on the Carey gridiron back in 2003.
Meanwhile, Carey is ranked fifth in the Idahosports.com poll of 1A Division 2 schools, behind top-ranked Kootenai (6-0), #2 Garden Valley (5-0), #3 Mackay (6-0) and fourth-ranked defending state champion Salmon River of Riggins (5-0).
Mackay (6-0, 4-0), a stingier defensive squad than even Carey, is due in Carey Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. for a huge Sawtooth showdown that should determine the Sawtooth champion and the top District 4/5/6 seed for November's eight-team 1A Division 2 playoffs.