Photo By Steve Conner - #17 Jonah Blackham
Written By: Sven Alskog
There are not many more consistent programs in Idaho high school football than Capital, with the Eagles looking to once again be tough this season.
Entering his 16th year, head coach Todd Simis will have to find a way to replace All-SIC quarterback Ryan Hibbs, SIC Defensive Player of the Year Joey Quitugua, All-SIC defensive lineman Jake Walk and All-State offensive lineman Jack Vering. Fortunately, plenty of pieces remain in place to keep things on the right track.
Some of the key returners include All-State receiver Jonah Blackham, All-SIC linebacker Jackson Reed, All-SIC offensive lineman Isaac Walker and Honorable Mention All-SIC defensive back Hayden Picard.
Despite the loss of Hibbs, Capital will benefit from the addition of Carson Bohning, a transfer from Boise who started under center for the Braves last season.
“We are assimilating six new starters, including a new quarterback,” said Simis. “We have multiple skill guys back with game experience including Jonah Blackham, Jake Jones, Michael Holley, Jackson Reed and Hayden Picard. Two starters are returning on the offensive line in Sean Mendiola and Isaac Walker.”
The defense has an impressive group of returners coming back, which should mean the unit can carry the team in the early season as the offense gets its feet under it.
“With nine starters returning, we just need to continue getting better every day and learn from our experiences,” added Simis.
The returning defensive starters include Reed and Abe Turpen at linebacker, Cooper Leaf, Picard, Justus Del Rio, Tanner Leaf and Cade Larson at defensive back and Jayce French and Charley Hastriter on the defensive line.
“I am most excited about our returning experience and team chemistry. The players have a love for each other and the program,” said Simis.
He also acknowledged that the experience coming back on defense should have the unit ahead of where it was last season.
“[We have] more experience returning on defense and we should be better on that side of the ball.”
Bohning and the Eagles will take on his former school Boise in game one of the season at Dona Larsen Park on August 30.