High School Football: Lewiston
LEWISTON, ID —
First up: the Lewiston Bengals.
Coming into the 2017 season, the Bengals have a lot of new faces.
There are only two returning starters from last year's team.
With such a fresh-face team, seniors running back/linebacker Troy Hanes and offensive/defensive lineman Nicholas Blume are optimistic.
"I think- I think we're going do pretty good because, a lot of these juniors have risen up to the challenge to be on varsity,” Hanes said. “Because it's a big jump to be on JV to varsity and I think they are going to make that jump."
“It's weird,” Blume said. “Having only two only two guys who have experience at varsity level, but there's a lot of juniors who've really stepped up and have been able to really pick up the slack. I think we're looking pretty good. But I don't think we're really going to have a lack of experience because we have a lot of guys who are willing to play hard and they're ready to play at the varsity level."
Among the new starters, a battle at quarterback.
Now that Colton Richardson is at Idaho, who will be the signal caller?
Hanes spoke about the battle between junior quarterbacks Tyson Wallace and Donovan Santana. "I think it's 50-50 still,” Hanes said. “They get equal amount of reps on offense. Their skill level is the same, it's just size. Tyson, he's taller, slender so he can see over the line, but Donny is bigger, so he can take a hit just a little bit better.
In case you haven't heard. Lewiston has a new head coach.
Matt Pancheri hails from Idaho falls. He last coached at Madison high school in Rexburg, Idaho.
And players seem to like him.
"He's been very nice. He hasn't been pushy at all,” Hanes said. “He's been, like kind of cushiony, you know, like he hasn't been, forceful, he's been, helpful."
"I really like him,” Blume said. “He's bought a new energy to the team. I think he's going to do a good job of building up this upcoming junior class, and getting this program going pretty well. I like him a lot so far. I think he's a really good fit for the school."
Pancheri already has high praises for this 20-17 squad.
"Well, it's been fun. They're great kids,” Pancheri said “We're not really in a rebirth stage, I think the coaching staff before had done a great job. They were undefeated in the regular season last year. And you know, only lost one game. I think the challenge, right, is trying to maintain some kind of standard that has been built here already."
The Bengals only have three home games this year.
But, Nicholas Blume seems like he enjoys road games and there's one game, he's especially looking forward to.
"Obviously, Clarkson. There's nothing better than beating up on the guys,” Blume laughed. “Being able to go cross the river, there’s just nothing better than being able to beat up on Clarkston.
"Play away is fun. then you get to beat guys in front of their friends, and family, and their girlfriends. So, I think playing on the road, I mean, it's always fun to play in front of your friends and stuff, but being able to beat teams and embarrass them, in front of their people is even more fun. "