The Idaho Press is counting down to the start of the 2020 high school football season by spotlighting all of the teams and the top players from the Treasure Valley. Next up is Notus .
NOTUS — The cupboard was pretty bare when Joe Woodland took the job in 2018.
The Notus High School head coach inherited just two players with any real experience — both running backs. So outside of the ground game, it was a bit of a struggle during his first two seasons. The Pirates haven’t posted a winning season and won more than four games in each of the last two years.
Woodland doesn’t anticipate those kinds of problems anymore with six returners on both sides of the ball.
“I don’t like losing, but I was realistic about the first couple of years and where we would be,” Woodland said. “But we’re on track now to where I think we can do some pretty good things over the next couple of years.”
The Pirates' future does indeed look bright. Four All-1A Division I Western Idaho Conference players are back in the fold — two of whom are from the secondary.
Senior Mack Shimondle was an All-1A Division I WIC selection last season. He’s the “bump and cover guy" and few balls were completed on him in 2019.
The other is Carter Woodland, the coach’s son. The sophomore, who was previously part of an undefeated junior high team, handled that pressure well. He was the second-leading tackler (45) and an all-league honorable mention selection thanks in part to his speed. Woodland was one of if not the fastest kid on the team last year as just a freshman. He used that quickness effectively on offense as well. Woodland galloped for 850 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Notus is going to need that type of production again with the loss of Garrett Stewart — one of two returners Joe Woodland had back in 2018. He racked up almost 1,300 yards of total offense and was an all-league first-team selection last year.
But the offense is going to revolve around Kaeden Clemens.
Clemens threw for 10 touchdowns and was an all-conference honorable mention quarterback at just 5-foot-7 and 130 pounds. He’s a little bigger now at 5-10, 150 pounds. Clemens, who’s started every game since midway through his freshman year, is going to be given the full reins.
“I’ve coached that kid ever since the fifth grade,” Woodland said. “What I really appreciate about him is his football knowledge. He gets what we’re going to do and gets the direction that we’re going. He understands play calling and he’s really starting to develop. So it’s time for him to really play some football because he’s an upperclassmen now.”
Clemens will be protected by Kellen Parks. The all-league 6-5, 270-pound senior will help fill the void of Chris Martin, a fellow first-team selection from last season, up front. Parks will anchor a pretty experienced offensive line. Junior Julian Gallegos and sophomore Aaron Jimenez are also both back.
The experience doesn’t stop there, though.
Senior halfback and defensive end Quentin Hutton is a soon-to-be four-year varsity letterman. He recorded 25 tackles and 300 yards on the ground last season.
Senior linebacker Kieran Miraz, who had 27 tackles and two interceptions a year ago, will look to fill the shoes of All-WIC Lane Coatney. But junior Elijah Martin could do that too. He is returning from a broken leg that ended his season three games in last year.
So the Pirates appear to have more than enough to end a three-year postseason drought.
“That’s the expectation,” Woodland said. “For me, this isn’t show up every year and hope we do well. We had this plan in place years ago, and it is finally starting to happen. The guys that have been here from the beginning understand that.
“Notus is someone teams are going to have to deal with year in and year out from this point forward.”