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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 Weiser.

After its most successful season in eight years, the Weiser football team is once again setting its sights high.

The Wolverines went 8-2 last year, their most wins since 2011 and only a win against eventual state runner-up Homedale away from capturing the Snake River Valley Conference crown. With a strong nucleus of players returning, Weiser coach Tom Harrison believes the Wolverines can again be among the best in the conference and the state.

“Last year was a big step for us, we got better than we did the year before,” Harrison said. “So we're looking to improve on this season. But we know we've got what it takes. We've got an excellent coaching staff and we have optimistic kids. We have good talent.”

Not to take away from the Wolverines' senior class, but much of the Wolverines' success this season will be determined by its junior class. Weiser placed four sophomores on All-SRV teams last year, including its quarterback, Brett Spencer.

Spencer, a first-team selection both on offense and at defensive back, has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the Treasure Valley, Harrison says.

“He's highly motivated with talent,” Harrison said. “He's got a good system that we're working on, that's proven and got a lot of experience behind it. I think I'm on 37 or 38 years (of coaching), hopefully I know a little bit.”

He'll be helped out by returning running back Jack Burke, a junior who was a second-team all-conference selection and senior Kooper Von Brethorst, who was a second-team selection at wide receiver. Harrison said Burke will be more involved in the passing game this season.

“You get the ball to Jack Burke and he can break tackles, he can make plays, he can do stuff with his feet,” Harrison said. “We're going to try and make him a little more of a threat to throw to this year, where last year he was mostly a running threat. He's working hard to improve his skill set as a receiver. And Kooper just does everything for you well. He's an outstanding blocker and he's also a threat as a receiver. We look for him to have a breakout big year. We're excited to see those guys play, because they are fun to watch.”

Defensively, the Wolverines return four starters up front in Rylee Willet, Willy Shirts, Dayton Turrentine and Tyler Pope. In the backfield, Von Brethorst returns as a cornerback and Spencer returns as a safety.

There are some holes to fill at linebackers after graduating three seniors last year. Senior Eric Torres will step in to fill the outside linebacker role, but races for other spots are still open, Harrison said.

“We don't know for sure, we're still in that process,” Harrison said. “The kids that played a little bit on (junior varsity) last year are going to have to step up and fill some pretty big shoes.”

John Wustrow is the assistant sports editor of the Idaho Press. He is a Michigan native and a graduate of Indiana University.

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