By RYAN HOWE
POCATELLO – How would Minico High replace 20 out of 22 starters from last year’s co-champions of the Great Basin Conference?
The Spartans answered that question early and emphatically in their 27-10 win over Park City, Utah, at Holt Arena.
In fact, the Spartans used the preseason chatter about how “young” they are as motivation.
“It made me mad, it made the whole team mad,” said junior running back and defensive back Daniel Freiburger. “We know how talented we are, but I don’t think the rest of the conference or anyone else knew what we could do. So we just kept working hard and wanted to come out here today and show what it’s going to be like this season.”
Freiburger rushed for 123 yards on 24 carries, scored a touchdown, recovered a Park City fumble and nabbed an interception to receive MVP honors and a $1,000 scholarship from the Rocky Mountain Rumble, which is an annual event that pits Idaho schools against out-of-state competition. Minico-Park City was one of five matchups this weekend at Holt Arena.
“I had no idea on anything about (Park City),” Freiburger said. “We just saw a little film on them. We knew they had a game under their belt and had time to make the adjustments from last week. We were excited to come play in the dome. For a lot of us it was our first game in here, so we were excited for it.”
Minico scored on three of its first four possessions, grabbing a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Junior quarterback Tanner Harper completed 12 of 16 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and Minico created balance with 211 yards rushing.
“The last couple years we were mostly a running team,” Freiburger said. “This year we balance it more. We have really good receivers, our linemen can block, so we can do whatever the coaches call.”
Minico (1-0) clicked from the get-go. Freiburger ran for 32 yards on his first touch. Harper completed his first four passes, including touchdown strikes to junior Chris Caldera of 25 and 41 yards on the Spartans’ first two drives.
Caldera finished with five catches for 89 yards.
Despite three turnovers for the game, the Spartans showed big-play capability in their no-huddle up-tempo offense, as well as the steadiness to sustain a drive. They grinded out 72 yards in 12 plays to score the third touchdown, which Freiburger made on a 9-yard option pitch from Harper.
Harper added a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Spartans, who host Sky View from Smithfield, Utah, next Friday.