Photo By Kyle Riley - #7 Andrew Gunter
Written by Dylan Carder, Sports Director KIFI/KIDK
When you have a senior starting quarterback with experience, you have a chance to do some great things. The Century Diamondbacks may have one the best in the state in 2019. Nathan Manning is returning to lead the offense after a 2018 that saw him earn all-state 1st team, all-conference 1st team, and conference offensive MVP honors.
Manning will be without one of his top targets from a season ago. Hudson Williams was an all-state 1st team WR who is now a College of Idaho Coyote. Williams led the D-backs in receptions.
Fortunately for Century, there will plenty of quality options on offense to turn to this season. Senior Andrew Gunter and junior TE Titan Fleischman have both received offers from Idaho State. They will lead a group of pass catchers that include Bruin Fleischman and Jovan Sowall. Kyler Hillman and Ryker Anderson will lead the running back unit.
Head coach Travis Hobson says the offensive system is based on balance and they will have to succeed in both the run and the pass. How well they achieve that will depend on how quickly a very young offensive line develops. Jaxsen Tuia will replace Alex Apel as the starting center. Brenden Daniels and Campbell Hicks are returning help anchor the line.
Century will have a crater sized hole to fill on defense in 2019. All four Defensive backs from a 2018 secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards in 4A have graduated. Hobson called Cole McKinlay the quarterback of the defense and lockdown corner Deshun Harwell is playing at the College of Idaho.
The Diamondbacks will also be without All-state 1st team LB Adam Ames, who is now playing at Rocky Mountain College. Jovan Sowell and Colten Scott will be key in filling the void in the defensive back seven along with senior Dillon Samana who is the lone returning starting linebacker.
The strength of the Diamondback defense in 2019 may come from the line. Senior D'Qua Lang is returning to anchor the the front. Lang has multiple D-1 offers. Hobson says his defense will be young, but it will also be fast and physical.
In his fourth year at the helm, Hobson has amassed a group of assistants with college playing experience. Former Boise State QB Tommy Stuart will coach the QB's. Former Weber State Wildcat Helam Heimuli will coach the defensive line and former Idaho State Bengal Rishaad Richards will coach the DB's.
The talent is there to make Century the favorite in the Great Basin Conference heading into the 2019 season. Whether expectation becomes reality will depend on staying healthy and their younger units developing quickly. When the talent on this team gels into a team, the Diamondbacks will be a tough team to stop.