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 New Plymouth.
NEW PLYMOUTH — There are few programs which have shown the level of consistency that New Plymouth has over the years.
It has won three 2A Western Idaho Conference title since 2014 and hasn’t missed the state playoffs since 2007.
But for New Plymouth football coach Dallan Rupp, that’s no longer enough.
“Our goal is to take it to the next level,” Rupp said. “We believe that there’s a process to getting to a state championship. That doesn’t start by setting a goal of winning a state championship. It’s about doing what’s important now. And right now it’s about summer workouts and then it’s fall camp and then going through our schedule one game at a time. And the kids are doing a really good job of buying into that.”
The Pilgrims have never won a state title. They haven’t been to the finals since 2004.
And if 2020 is finally going to be the Pilgrims’ year, they’re going to have to do so with a lot of fresh faces.
They lost seven All-2A WIC players from a team that went 5-5 and lost in the quarterfinals a year ago. This includes the Co-Offensive Player of the Year Kobe Roberts. The former quarterback tallied 2,208 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns. Running back Cody Williams and wideout Derek Hampton are also gone. The three of them accounted for more than 82% of the team’s total offense in 2020. New Plymouth will be without all-league lineman Jace Watson as well.
Junior Joel Campbell is the only all-conference player coming back. The linebacker had 52 tackles, including eight for loss, to earn honorable mention honors in 2019.
So the Pilgrims are going to need a lot of other players to step up.
The biggest names are probably their two quarterbacks in junior Casey Arritola and sophomore Zach Conlee. They both dressed down for varsity last year, but primarily played on the junior varsity team. Arritola has played in a total of three games over the last two years because of injury. So Conlee is actually the one with the most in-game experience between the two.
“We’re in a tough spot there,” Rupp said. “It’s going to be a big change for me and my offense because I’ve always had some great quarterbacks in the past. These two could certainly be the next one, but it’s probably going to take some time.”
The other skill positions are going to be fairly green as well.
The backfield will feature seniors Erin Vian and Javon Linderman. Vian ran the ball just three times for three yards last year. Vian was also an all-league defensive back in 2018.
Linderman is a transfer from Winnemucca, Nevada. Rupp is pretty high on him.
“He’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing on offense,” Rupp said.
Senior Patrick Schescke is the only receiver back with any real experience. But even he only had seven catches for 97 yards last year.
However, the line won’t have that problem. It returns four of five linemen, including Campbell. Senior guard Caiden Cutburth started two years ago. He missed last season because his family moved to Utah. But he’s back now. Hunter Williams — Cody’s brother — will likely anchor the unit as just a sophomore. He’s already 6-2, 260 pounds.
“From top to bottom, we’re a better team than last year. And I don’t think people realize that because we don’t have those all-conference kids,” Rupp said. “So I’m expecting to see them competing for a conference title at the end of the year and heading to state. We want to keep that consistency. Is it a different look, a different team? Absolutely. But we still have the same expectations that we’ve always had and more this year.”