Five bold predictions for the 2018 high school football season
Highland will go undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 2014.
The Rams are coming off a 10-1 season that coronated with a 5A state championship and start the 2018 campaign on a nine-game winning streak. Highland’s nonconference schedule features three 4A Idaho opponents (Century, Pocatello and Twin Falls), a 3A Utah squad (Ridgeline), a 4A Nevada team (Shadow Ridge) and a 5A Idaho team (Coeur d’Alene). The 5A Vikings will be the Rams’ toughest nonconference test, in a rematch of last season’s title game. When 5A District 5-6 play begins, the Rams will continue to dominate as they haven’t dropped a conference game since Oct. 19, 2012. The Rams lost key pieces from last year’s team, but the squad’s schedule and coaching will allow them to recover.
Century will win the 4A District 4-5 championship, its first district crown since 2014.
Century brings back experience and talent after securing a playoff win one year removed from 2016’s one-win season. The Diamondbacks are primed to take another step this season in the first year of their new conference slate. Century brings back 14 all-conference players from last season’s team, which will help the squad handle its competition on the way to earning the conference’s top seed for the state playoffs.
For the first time since 2011, Marsh Valley will finish with a winning record and win a playoff game.
The Eagles’ program has struggled this decade after 13 combined wins in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Marsh Valley has found stability with third-year coach Doug Armstrong, who has his program trending in the right direction. Armstrong and Marsh Valley have increased their win total each season since he took over, including last season’s three-win campaign that earned the squad a 3A state playoff berth. The Eagles’ defense will be fierce again and carry the team to new heights in 2018.
Highland’s Kobe Tracy will lead all Idaho classifications in yards passing this season.
The senior will have a strong final prep campaign after he came into his own last season as a first-year starter. Expectations and pressure were high in 2017, but Tracy enters 2018 entrenched as a key piece. With head coach Gino Mariani’s offensive knowledge, Tracy will improve on last season’s numbers of 2,558 yards passing and 23 passing touchdowns. Tracy will dissect defenses and be more than a game manager like he was last season.
Malad will not go winless for the third consecutive season.
The Dragons will end their drought this season and win their first game since Sept. 4, 2015. Malad enters 2018 on a 22-game losing streak but will celebrate a win at some point this season with first-year coach Kory Kay. The Dragons’ best chance at a win is Sept. 7 at home against Wendell, which enters the season on a 21-game losing streak.