SBLive Idaho is previewing the Top 15 high school football teams in the state ahead of the 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Sugar-Salem Diggers of the 3A Mountain Rivers Conference – No. 14 in our countdown.
2020 IN REVIEW
10-1 (first place in 3A Mountain Rivers); defeated Homedale for the 3A championship.
- Tyler Richins, eighth season.
- Overall record: 56-14.
- Assistant coaches: Dan Bennion, Brady Gardner, Troy Dougherty, Brad Parkinson, Rick Dixon, Kevin McClusky, Kyle Hansen, Dan Mecham, Dwight Richins, Ted Parkinson, Ty Grey.
11 total on offense and defense.
The Diggers are in the midst of something that hasn’t been done in 3A in almost two decades - rule the entire classification.
They’re the first team since Snake River (1998-2002) to win three consecutive state championships.
“It’s been a longtime coming,” Sugar-Salem coach Tyler Richins said. “Getting our culture built within our program, the expectations within our program, the kids, the community, has been kind of a process in itself. So the last three years, seeing that payoff for the school, for the program and for the community has been really exciting.”
And Sugar-Salem has no plans on relinquishing that throne either.
It brings back 11 players from last year’s championship team, including a pair of senior all-state players in linebacker Ryan Harris and lineman Boyd Sorenson. Sorenson may not be ready by the start of the season as he is still recovering from a torn knee ligament (ACL), suffered in the state quarterfinal win over Weiser last year.
But the Diggers have more than enough depth to make up for his potential absence.
Senior wideout/defensive back Jonah Schulthies jump-started the 20-0 rally in the title game last year by returning a kickoff for a touchdown, and is someone Richins thinks could be the team’s playmaker this season.