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There were stops and restarts, and it wasn’t easy, but the 2021 Idaho high school football season was completed with six state championship games late last month.

And now it is time for SBLive to release its all-state football team — spanning all classifications — including individual awards.


Player of the year: Tiger Adolpho, QB, Rigby

A year after being benched at halftime during the Class 5A state title game, Adolpho returned to stake his convincing claim as the state's most valuable player. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior led the best team in the state with 2,578 yards and 26 touchdowns to only five interceptions. But his ability wasn’t just limited to his big right arm. Adolpho ran for another 622 yards and 12 scores. The Weber State signee capped his prolific high school career, which included two years at Hawaii powerhouse Kakuku High School where he played in two other state championship games, with an elusive title to finish 21-2 as a starter in Idaho.

Offensive player of the year: Colston Loveland, TE, Gooding

To say the 6-foot-6, 250-pound senior had a lot to live up to would be putting it lightly. He entered the season as a four-star prospect and the 10th-ranked tight end recruit in the nation, according to And despite constant triple teams, Loveland more than delivered. He played five different positions on offense and came away with 1,348 total yards and 18 touchdowns. Loveland was the Gatorade state player of the year and just signed with the Michigan.

Defensive player of the year: Damien Walker, DL, Rigby

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior probably wouldn’t have been a lot of people’s pick for this award before the season (he wasn't on SBLive Idaho's preseason team, either). But as the season progressed, including when it mattered most, it became clear that Walker was the guy on defense. He finished with 54 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and three sacks with a lot of that coming against Highland in the state title game where he was unstoppable. 

Lineman of the year: Kody Walk, DL, Capital

The 6-4, 225-pound senior was a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks to deal with this season. That’s because offensive linemen, including some on this very list, had difficulty containing him as a pass rusher. Walk led the state with 19 sacks while also racking up 24 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles. Also a fantastic pass catcher at tight end. Holds four D1 offers, including Eastern Washington, which made the FCS tournament this year.

Breakout player of the year: Kenyon Sadiq, WR, Skyline

One of the questions facing the defending 4A champions going into this fall was how were they going to replace all-state wide receivers Conner Maloney and Eli Ames,? This 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior was the answer in a big way after being a seldom-used reserve. Sadiq put up better numbers than both Maloney and Ames with 79 catches for 1,166 yards and 19 touchdowns for Skyline, which won its eighth state championship.

Coach of the year: John Zamberlin, Meridian

When Zamberlin, a Tacoma, Wash. native, arrived in 2019, the Warriors had not had a winning season in eight years. Fast forward two years later, he led them to the best season in 14 years. They beat Madison for their first playoff win since 2007, then followed it up by upending No. 1 Mountain View - and taking eventual 5A champion Rigby to three overtimes in the state semifinals. Needless to say, Meridian should be a factor for years to come in the 5A SIC.


Quarterback: Jack Benson, Eagle, sr.

The 6-3, 175-pound signal caller made a triumphant return to his home state. He came back from Arizona where he completed 60% of his passes for 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns to do one better. Benson completed 67% of his throws for 2,301 yards, 19 touchdowns, while running for another 558 yards and eight scores to nearly lead the Mustangs to their first state final appearance in a decade.

Running back: Hayden Kincheloe, Homedale, sr.

The 5-11, 210-pounder ran through and around defenses all season. He amassed 1,646 and 22 touchdowns. That was with missing the first two games of the season too. There was only one game this year where he didn’t run for at least 100 yards (even then he still got 90 in 3A semifinal loss). Kincheloe just received his first offer with Montana Tech. More should surely come over the next few months.

Running back: Seth Knothe, Bishop Kelly, sr.

Legendary coach Tim Brennan said Knothe was one of the best running backs he’s ever coached following a game during the middle of the season. The 6-1, 210-pounder certainly backed that claim up and then some. He nearly eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark this season, which is insane for running back in a higher classification to even do. Oh yeah, he also had 33 touchdowns.

Wide receiver: Ian Duarte, Eagle, jr.

Duarte transferred in from California with a ton of buzz. So much so that we debated putting the 5-9, 160-pounder on the preseason all-state before ever playing in Idaho. But after doing so this year, there’s no argument now. Duarte showed exactly why he has four D1 offers, including Fresno State, which was ranked in the top-25 this season, with 69 receptions for 1,169 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Wide receiver: Taylor Freeman, Rigby, sr.

Missing multiple games because of injury wasn’t going to keep the 6-1, 175-pounder off this list. He tallied 54 catches for 916 yards and 12 touchdowns, including one in the state title game two weeks after breaking his arm. Freeman dealt with a torn tendon in his ankle previously. He has an offer from Idaho State and was recently given a preferred walk-on offer from this year’s Mountain West champion Utah State.

Wide receiver: Trais Higgins, WR, Nampa, sr.

Higgins came over from Washington, Utah for fear that Crimson Cliffs High School wasn’t going to have a season. The move paid off. The 6-0, 160-pounder led the entire 4A classification with 1,375 yards to go along with 74 catches and 10 scores. It all helped the Bulldogs overcome a 1-4 start to upset back-to-back 4A SIC champion and last year’s state runner-up Emmett in the opening round of the playoffs.

Tight end: Donovan Jones, Eagle, sr

Jones kind of came out of nowhere. He had never so much as earned all-league honors and was seldom mentioned in preseason previews. But the 6-4, 210 pounder became a household name with 52 catches for 794 yards and seven touchdowns before signing a preferred walk-on offer with Stanford. .

Offensive lineman: Jackson Fullmer, Rocky Mountain, jr.

Former Mountain View coach Judd Benedick called Fullmer the best offensive lineman in the state this season. It’s hard to argue with one of the most storied coaches in the state. The 6-4, 260 pounder piled up 78 pancake blocks, which has gotten a lot of attention with offers from Boise State and Kansas State.

Offensive lineman: Austin Schultsmeier, Mountain View, sr.

During Benedick’s 15 years years at the helm, he said Schultsmier was one of it not the best lineman he’s ever had. The 6-3, 255 pounder anchored a unit that gave way to the 5A’s top rushing attack at 231 yards per game.

Offensive lineman: Talin Togiai, Rigby, sr.

Togiai was the unsung hero of the prolific Trojan offense that averaged 39 points per game. He paved the way for guys like Tiger Adolpho and company. The 6-4, near 300 pounder is signed to BYU.

Offensive lineman: Jaxon Washington, Coeur d’Alene, sr.

The talk for the Vikings going into the year was their vaunted offensive line. Washington ended up being the best of them. The 6-0, 250 pounder protected quarterback Brayden Bengston and opened up holes for Gunner Giulio and multiple other all-league players this season.

Offensive lineman: Kyler Williams, Highland, sr.

A lot of other guys got the headlines, but the Rams’ 20th state title game appearance since 1984 would not have been possible without Williams. The 6-1, 250 pounder was the man the Highland runners ran behind to the tune of 6.3 yards per carry.

All-purpose: Ryker Clinger, Shelley, jr.

There wasn’t much Clinger didn’t do this season. Maybe play quarterback? The 6-0, 180 pounder racked up 1,257 yards rushing and another 615 between receiving and kick returning for 17 touchdowns in all to help reawaken the storied program.

Place kicker: Ian Hershey, Highland, sr.

It’s probably not hyperbole to say that Hershey is the best high school kicker Idaho has ever seen. He connected on 19-of-23 field goals, including two game-winners and a record 58-yarder - all in the 5A playoffs.


Defensive lineman: Kody Colvin, Highland, sr.

Colvin was usually the first person opposing players saw in the backfield. He led the always feared Rams’ defense with 16.5 tackles for loss, piled up 96 total tackles and got to the quarterback 12 times.

Defensive lineman: Cameren Cope, Coeur d’Alene, sr.

Despite being hampered with injuries all season, opposing offenses still felt his presence. The 6-5, 220-pound mountain of a man tallied 80 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and five sacks. He is signed to Weber State.

Defensive lineman: Paul Fitzgerald, Thunder Ridge, sr.

No defensive player faced more double and even triple teams than the highly-touted Utah State signee. But the 6-3, 235 pounder still was dominant with 31 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two blocked punts.

Defensive lineman: Kiano Kishiyama, Skyline, sr.

Coach Scott Berger’s group up front was arguably the best in the state - and Kishiyama was the best of the bunch. He led that unit with 64 tackles and 11 sacks for a Grizzly defense that allowed a little more than 15 points per game over the last half of the season.

Linebacker: Brayden Garrison, Mountain View, sr.

Wherever the football was, that’s where Garrison was. The 5-10, 185 pounder was one of the state’s leading tacklers with 92 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and even a pair of interceptions to boot for what was the second-best scoring defense in the state (12.3 points per game).

Linebacker: Mason Jacobsen, Rocky Mountain, sr.

Jacobsen made a pretty seamless transition from defensive end to linebacker. The 6-2, 235 pounder headed up the Grizzlies’ defense, which always ranks as one of the best units, year in and year out, with 58 tackles and four sacks while constantly facing double teams.

Linebacker: Hunter Killian, Pocatello, sr.

If opposing offenses wanted to move the football, they had to go through Killian. And most of the time, they had no luck. The 6-0, 200 pounder had 118 tackles just by himself - and 137 overall.

Linebacker: Nathan Reynolds, Meridian, jr.

The state’s best defense (10.6 points) belonged to the Warriors - and Reynolds was the biggest reason why. The 6-4, 220 pounder chalked up 77 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Defensive back: Zach Clark, Post Falls, sr.

At 5-11, 160 pounds, Clark didn’t look like much of a backfield presence. But the ball hawk has totaled 12 interceptions over the last two seasons, including three in 2021. He also had 44 tackles.

Defensive back: Gage Jones, Eagle, sr.

He arguably was the best defensive back in the state this season. The 6-2, 200-pounder used his size perfectly with 107 tackles and four interceptions. He has four DI offers, including Montana State, which is playing for the FCS national championship.

Defensive back: Bryler Shurtliff, West Side, sr.

This Idaho State signee notched 20 tackles, four interceptions, a pick-6, five broken up passes and three fumble recoveries. That doesn’t sound like much. But that’s because the 6-3, 175 pounder did all of that during the first four games of the season before opposing teams stopped throwing his way.

Defensive back: Brett Spencer, Weiser, sr.

What a season (82 tackles, eight interceptions, including four pick-6s) - and what a career. And it ended with the safety halting Sugar-Salem’s Carson Harris dead in his tracks at the 1-inch line for the Wolverines’ first state title since 1997. Also an MVP quarterback, he has D1 offer from Idaho.

Hybrid: Chandler Robinson, Skyline, sr.

Robinson was the driving force of a defense that really clamped down during the stretch run. The 6-foot, 200 pounder was the state’s leading tackler with 147 tackles, in addition to three force fumbles and two picks while playing both linebacker and defensive back.

Punter: Skyler Olsen, Idaho Falls, sr.

Olsen flipped field position pretty quickly for the Tigers this season with a 47.1-yard average per punt. Oh yeah, it was his first year ever playing the position.


QB: Max Clark, Capital, sr.; QB: Caden Young, Emmett, sr. RB: Kross Antonnacchi, Meridian, sr.; RB: Quintez Evans, Mountain View, sr.; RB: Zheik Falevai, Rigby, sr.; RB: Atonio Fifita, Skyview, sr. WR: Gatlin Bair, Kimberly, so.; WR: Ja’Vonte King, Blackfoot, jr.; WR Quentin Riley, Meridian, sr.; WR: Hunter Steacker, Rocky Mountain, sr. TE: Zach Johnson, Lake City, jr.; TE: Joshua Tiersma, Nampa Christian, sr. OL: Lucas Guzman, Mountain View, sr.; OL: Marques McFadden, Bishop Kelly, sr.; OL: Alex Ortiz, Firth, sr.; OL Wyatt Sanford, Coeur d’Alene, sr.; OL: Sam Schroeder, Emmett, jr. AP: Gerrit Cox, Sandpoint, sr.; PK: Lance Hanna, Nampa, sr.


DL: Jackson Beck, Mountain View, sr.; DL: Tucker French, Capital, jr.; DL: Dantee Ruiz, Minico, sr.; DL: Boyd Sorensen, Sugar-Salem, sr. LB: Wes Benefield, Sandpoint, jr.; LB: Logan Fredericksen, Rigby, sr.; LB: Mason Fullmer, Highland, jr.; LB: Gunner Giulio, Coeur d'Alene, sr. DB: Isaiah Griffin, Coeur d’Alene, sr.; DB: Payton Howe, Marsh Valley, sr.; DB: Adam Jones, Highland, sr.; DB: Ryder Thompson, Rigby, sr. Hybrid: Cage Brokens, West Side, sr. P: Salvador Camarillo, Hansen, jr.

(Featured file photo by Loren Orr Photography)