The Carey High School eight-man football team is looking for faster starts and more satisfying finishes when its eight-game 2014 season debuts Friday, Aug. 29 against the Notus Pirates at Derrick Parke Memorial Field in Carey.
Opening kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday for the first of four Panther home varsity games. Homecoming against the Rockland Bulldogs is the next home game Friday, Sept. 12.
Carey hasn’t beaten a Notus football team in 20 years since 1994. That’s when Carey defeated Notus 40-14 at Holt Arena in Pocatello during a 12-0 Panther state championship campaign—the first of Carey’s five state grid championships.
“We’ve had a good week of practice and have come together as a team,” said 14th-year Panther head coach Lane Kirkland last Friday. “If we play as a team and play together, that’s all we need to have the most success possible.”
“Our senior leadership is good and we’re working on getting back on a championship run. We now have the numbers and leadership, and our skills are improving.”
Carey (5-4 last year, 33.1 ppg offense, 30.8 ppg defense) was outscored by a 181-154 margin in the first half of its games last fall and, fielding only two seniors, struggled with its depth and experience.
This fall, instead of 22 players, Carey has 29 out including five seniors. Solid numbers and experience “have always taken us deep in the post-season,” said Kirkland, who coached Carey state title winners in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
“We’ve got a lot of depth with numbers, size, speed and experience. As coaches it’s been a lot of fun to sort it out. The kids are tougher and faster. That makes our practices more competitive so we can get better,” the coach said.
Kirkland said all but two starters are returning on defense, which should help the Panthers improve on tackling and communication, and hopefully cause more turnovers. “Our first priority is to stop the other team,” he said.
Carey didn’t score on defense in all nine games last fall, and scored only once on a kickoff or punt return.
Twenty-six of the team’s 43 touchdowns came on the ground, and 16 through the air with leading scorer Nate Adamson (98 points) pitching for 16 TDs along with his 15 running touchdowns.
Second-team All-Sawtooth Conference West defensive back Adamson and All-League honorable mention Matt Whitworth didn’t play in last year’s season-opening 30-6 loss at Notus. Both seniors should contribute on Friday night.
“I’m really excited about the experience and depth of our line,” said Kirkland about the offensive front of center Chris Peck, guards Whitworth and Alex Durtschi, and ends Collin Whitby and Joe Parke.
Behind them is quarterback Adamson and running backs Zach Olsen and Corban Johnson. Carey will likely try to spread the field and let Adamson operate as a runner and as a passer on the option run.
Kirkland added, “We’ll probably throw the ball a little more and let Nate do his magic. We have great receivers, too. Joe and Collin are good threats catching the ball. (Running back) Zach Olsen is quick, smart and knows all the plays.
“We need to put up more points this year. Points transfer into more wins.”
The three-man defensive front in assistant coach Lane Durschi’s 3-4 scheme features Peck at nose guard along with Johnson and Dallin Dilworth at end. Linebackers include Whitworth, Joe Parke, Whitby and Derrick Baird, with Toby Whitworth and Adamson due to roam around at safety.
Carey is aiming for one of four state play-in berths from the six-team Sawtooth Conference West (Carey, Dietrich, Richfield, Castleford, Camas County of Fairfield and Lighthouse Christian of Twin Falls). Camas returned to eight-man football after experimenting with six-man football in 2013.
The Sawtooth West produced two of the four State 1A Division 2 semi-finalist teams last fall, so coach Kirkland and the Panthers know they have to be on top of their game in each league contest this year.
Sharing third place at state in 2013 were divisional king Lighthouse Christian (10-1, 49.1 ppg offense) and Dietrich (9-2, 40.9 ppg offense). Salmon River of Riggins (12-0, 22-2 two years) captured its second straight state title and third in five years 66-26 over Council (9-3). Salmon River has now won 17 straight games.
Kirkland said this year’s Carey schedule builds progressively to what may be a culmination against Lighthouse Christian in Carey Friday, Oct. 24. “We hope we’re 7-0 coming into that game with Lighthouse at our field,” he said.
Lighthouse Christian, the 2011 state champion, returns
All-State senior running back and linebacker Adam Taylor, while Dietrich has a force in tow with senior Austin Fenstermaker, an All-State offensive and defensive lineman.
An “intangible” may be winning tradition, which Carey seems to have in spades.
Kirkland said, “We have a lot of tradition here and that makes for great fan support and enthusiastic kids. I love how you can see these kids grow up in a variety of ways as they come through the ranks.”
Here is Carey’s 2014 roster. Position symbols are Running Back (RB), Quarterback (QB), Tight End (TE), Defensive Line (DL), Defensive End (DE), Linebacker (LB), Safety (S) and Punter (P).
Head coach—Lane Kirkland (14th year, 108-27). Carey is 84-16 over the last nine seasons (44-5 home) and is 71-10 in regular-season play since 2005. Previously Kirkland coached one year, 1998-99 in Oakley.
Assistant coaches—Lane Durtschi (defensive coordinator, 8th season) and Jake Nilsen (2nd year).
Seniors (5)—Matt Whitworth (OL/RB/DL/LB), Alex Durtschi (OL/DL), Chris Peck (OL/DL), Corban Johnson (RB/DL) and Nate Adamson (QB/S/P).
Juniors (6)—Joe Parke (TE/LB), Zach Olsen (RB/LB), Collin Whitby (TE), Dallin Dilworth (TE/DE), Salvador Ramos (OL/DL) and Stewart Shrapshire.
Sophomores (8)—Derrick Baird (LB), Parker Gamino (LB), Toby Whitworth (QB/LB), Wyatt Thompson (OL/DL), Chayton Castle (OL/DL), Nik D’Orazio (OL/LB), Jessy Harshbarger (OL/DL) and Keith Andrews (OL/DL).
Freshmen (10)—D.J. Parke, Kaden Koudelka, Taylor Conrad, Hilario Ruiz, Trevor Kirkland, Tanner Mecham, Raymond Peck. Dakota Pettit, Houston Hennefer and Spencer Shrapshire.
2014 Carey Football
A total 8 games on the season schedule for the 2014 Panther varsity—4 home and 4 away. Home varsity games at Derrick Parke Memorial field shown in bold. Homecoming is Sept. 12 with the Rockland Bulldogs. Carey’s 5 Sawtooth Conference West varsity league games (Dietrich, Richfield, Castleford, Lighthouse Christian, Camas County) are followed by an asterisk (*). There are 6 Carey JV games.
|Aug. 29, Friday
|Sept. 5, Friday
||North Gem (JV/V)
|Sept. 12, Friday
|Sept. 18, Thursday
|Sept. 19, Friday
|Sept. 25, Thursday
||Wells (Nev.) (JV)
|Sept. 26, Friday
|Oct. 1, Wednesday
||Butte County (JV)
|Oct. 10, Friday
|Oct. 17, Friday
|Oct. 24, Friday
||Lighthouse Christian* (JV/V)
|Oct. 31, Friday
||Sawtooth Conference play-in game
|Nov. 8, Saturday
||State 1A Division 2 quarterfinals
|Nov. 14, Friday
||State 1A Division 2 semi-finals
|Nov. 21, Friday
||State 1A Division 2 championship
NOTES—This is the 11th year Idaho 8-man football is divided for state tournament qualifying purposes into bigger schools (Division 1, 100-159 students) and smaller schools (Division 2, 99-and-below). Eight teams in each division qualify for the State 1A 8-man football playoffs, to be held Nov. 8, Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 21-22…… The 4th District 1A Division 2 Sawtooth Conference of 11 schools is divided into the 6-school Sawtooth West (Carey, Dietrich, Richfield, Castleford, Camas County of Fairfield and Lighthouse Christian Academy) and the 5-school Sawtooth East (Mackay, Calvary Chapel, North Gem of Bancroft, Rockland and Sho-Ban of Fort Hall)…..Based on final season standings, the Sawtooth Conference play-in games Nov. 1 are matched up this way: #1 East vs. #4 West, #2 East vs. #3 West, #1 West vs. #4 East and #2 West vs. #3 East……The 4 winners of those play-in games advance to the first round of the 8-team State 1A Division 2 playoffs Nov. 8. In those match-ups, the winner of #1 Sawtooth East-#4 Sawtooth West hosts the winner of #2 East-#3 West, and the winner of #1 West-#4 East hosts the winner of #2 West-#3 East…..Northern Idaho (Districts 1 and 2) gets 2 state berths for the quarterfinals. The Northern Idaho champion (1/2 A) hosts the Boise-area runner-up in the quarterfinals. The Northern Idaho runner-up (1/2 B) visits the Boise-area (3A) champ in the quarterfinals.