Photo By Patty Theurer - #17 Ty Barnett
Written By: Will Hoenike
Sometimes, the line is easy to draw.
The Tri-Valley Titans missed the 1A Division 2 playoffs by one game. The two teams that finished ahead of the Titans, Garden Valley and Salmon River, each defeated Tri-Valley head to head. Those two teams played in the postseason. Makes it pretty simple.
For first-year head coach Dan Miller, climbing back to the top can be simple as well as he uses one word to describe his point of emphasis moving into the 2019 season.
“Accountability,” he said.
That’s not to say it was an issue under former head coach Bob Johnson. The program is just two years removed from going toe-to-toe with 1A D2 powerhouse Carey in the state championship game in 2017. But Johnson has retired and most key contributors from that team is gone. So it is up to the current players to get the Titans back to the top of the standings.
The program, which is a cooperative effort between neighboring Cambridge and Midvale, has been going since 2005. The two towns are old rivals so it hasn’t always been seamless, but strong play in recent years has definitely helped. Can the good times continue this fall?
Starting quarterback Jayden Mink is gone, so in steps his younger brother, Jarrett. Also back for the Titans are senior receiver Ty Barnett and senior defensive end Hudson Hart. They’ll be the core of a team that won three of its final four games, with the only loss being the defeat at home against Salmon River that ultimately kept the Titans from reaching the postseason for the second straight year.
Tri-Valley’s offense did a pretty good job scoring points last season, amassing 274 in all, an average of nearly 35 per game. Defensively, the Titans allowed 232 points (29 per game). So, again, it comes back to those two games where Tri-Valley came up a little bit short.
For the 1A Division 2 Long Pin Conference, there is a lot of change. Not just Tri-Valley. There are also new coaches in Council and Salmon River. Uncertainty and change do not necessarily mean bad things. It could mean opportunity. New players, new roles, new coaches, and new challenges. The teams that adapt best to those changes will be the teams that rise to the top of the Long Pin in 2019.