KIMBERLY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Kimberly is seeking its first ever state title, after reaching the semi-final last fall. While the Bulldogs lost some weapons this year, they feature key returners and potential impact players as well.
Head coach Rich Bishop explained, "when you come into the season you put the best team on the field."
For more than 20 years, you've seen Bishop patrolling the sidelines, six of those as the head coach. This year he was tasked with finding replacements for key positions, especially since numbers are down
"We had some kids not wanting to play for different reasons…as far as the kids we have it, we have some good quality kids, but we don't have as many of them," he added.
Bishop shifted some of his players to different positions and Trace Mayo is one of them.
The junior right tackle and defensive end explained, "we've lost more people and so just to help out the line, a couple of us have been moved to help the team."
Bishop said, "a lot of times, especially growing up, people want to be a quarterback, running back, those type of things, you get a lot of those and end up with a lot of guys standing on the sideline." "So we talked to them about do you want to play a position or play football."
The new projected signal caller is a young man by the name of Heath Owens.
"He's put in a lot of time, even before high school. He went to quarterback camps, he said I'll play wherever you need me," Bishop added.
Senior running back and safety McKade Huft added, "he's always been a leader since day one and he knew what he had to do and filled the shoes great, hardworking, very vocal."
The reigning conference offensive player of the year and first team all-state selection can relate to Owens, after all, Huft came onto the scene as a young freshman, only to earn first team all-conference honors.
Huft's mission year after year is the same.
"Just be better than the last year, that's what I've said the last couple of years, obviously I want to get my name out there, but if it helps the team, I'm all for it.," Huft added.
A new face is already making a name for himself, in Max Alger.
Alger said, "it's been a blast so far, I'm loving this new team. From day one, it feels like I have been here since freshman year."
Alger is originally from Wisconsin, last playing for a 5A school.
"He's been doing really well, he was always in the weight room, putting work to get on the team and he's a starter," Mayo added.
Senior middle linebacker and right guard AJ Garrell said, "I was thinking I had it for the all-state linebacker this year, but Max will be good competition."
For Garrell, this is his final hurrah in high school. And he has one mission.
"Going 100% at practice and making every play count like it's the last play."
The Bulldogs begin the season on the road at Snake River, August 30 at 7 p.m.