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Elko Indians Season Preview

Elko Indians Season Preview

The high school football season begins later this month, with that being said we are previewing over twenty teams from our local area. Today's team: Elko.

Elko Indians

2022 record: 9-3 overall, 4-1 league

Head coach: Luke Sellers, fourteenth season at Elko (82-47 overall, 68-34 league in thirteen seasons at Elko)

Overview: Elko traveled to Truckee in the semi-finals of the playoffs last year with confidence having won 43-11 at home against the Wolverines just two months prior. Well as the saying goes "that's why they play the games" and Truckee went on to defeat the Indians, 21-14 sending them back home for a long winter with a lot of questions heading into the offseason.

Coach Sellers is confident his team will bounce back this season and he reiterated to me that his squad "returns key starters on defense that have a ton of experience." The problem Sellers may have been that a handful of those starters will be expected to go both ways as five of them will begin the season with it being their third year on Varsity.

The aforementioned experience is something that the Indians hope to use to their advantage this season. Coach Sellers said he has seen his team "mature" this offseason and he decided to bring up a handful of sophomores to create competition within his ranks. He believes that with 26 seniors and ten juniors expected to return that they will provide the leadership his squad will need to make a deep playoff run this season.

The Indians return five starters offensively and will continue to employ their traditional "Wing-T" base system with the occasional "Shotgun Wing-T" formation. Coach Sellers said it is vital that his team "show the ability to run sweep, open it up and run trap and lead to hammer teams." As the defensive play caller, Sellers is intimately aware of his personnel. He stated that the Indians will return six starters from last season - they will continue to run a "Base 50 and 40" look so that they can "try to catch teams off guard."

Seniors to watch:

RB/DL Eli Finlayson, Senior: If the Indians are to be successful this season it will come on the broad shoulders of Finlayson. A three-sport athlete (he's also a 3A State Champion Wrestler), he is a beast on the gridiron, having racked up over 2,600 yards of total offense and 39 touchdowns in two years. My favorite thing about Finlayson's game is that even though he's a bigger body at RB he has shown some wiggle when he gets loose. Coach Sellers said, "He's dynamic, good speed, good on d[efense], we expect him to break some records this season."

ATH Cael Sellers, Senior: Last season's Northern 3A East Most Valuable Player, Sellers, is a "Jack of all Trades" and more than capable at playing every position on the football field. Coach Sellers described him as a "good athlete, that has a chip on his shoulder heading into this season." He later went on to say that "we expect him to show his senior leadership this season" and "make good decisions on d[efense]." Cael has tallied 120 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two interceptions, two blocked kicks and a blocked punt over the last two seasons.

TE Preston Chamberlin, Senior: Often the forgotten man amongst the unending number of seniors the Indians have this season, Chamberlin is a three-sport athlete that is dominant whenever he steps on the field. Over two seasons on Varsity he has racked up a touchdown pass, 877 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns on offense while making 42 tackles and intercepting two passes on defense. He has a nose for the ball and is also considered a next-level athlete as a long snapper. He has No. 1 receiver potential this season.

LB Jacob Aguirre, Senior: Named Co-Defensive Player of The Year in The Northern 3A East League Aguirre is a menace for opposing offenses. Last season he was responsible for 56 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a blocked field goal. He'll look to increase that production this season in hopes of taking the Indians on a deep playoff run.

The Meat and Potatoes Crew:

OL Andres Flores, OL Breaden Raddatz, DL Naul Rubio and DL Kian Stuart: All seniors expected to have a big impact for the Indians this season. They will set the tone with their physicality and toughness.

Look out for but don't be surprised by:

RB Fernando Acosta, Senior: Referred to as the 'Lightning' to Finlayson's 'Thunder' Acosta is a perfect complement for the Indians backfield. Considered quicker in a ten-yard burst with a little more wiggle, he's expected to garner a few additional carries this season after he rushed for 553 yards and eight touchdowns in limited carries last season. He's as tough as they come.

LB Christian Felix, Senior: Felix tallied 49 tackles, one sack, and a forced fumble while seeing action in eight games last season. I'd bet money on seeing an uptick in his production if he stays healthy this season.

DB Quinton Williams, Senior: A returner in the secondary Williams can run fast and is a big-time playmaker, having recorded 49 tackles, two interceptions and two blocked field goals for the Indians last season - he's a breakout candidate in the 3A this season.

ATH Coy Jones, Sophomore: Younger brother of Utah State Return Specialist Cooper Jones, Coy is expected to get major playing time in his first season on Varsity. He's one of a handful of 2026 prospects that will catch our eyes this season.

Season schedule:

Aug. 18 at Skyview (Nampa, Idaho)

Aug. 25 at Douglas (Minden, Nev.)

Sep. 8 vs. Fernley

Sep. 15 at South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.)

Sep. 22 vs. Lowry (Winnemucca, Nev)

Sep. 29 at Sparks

Oct. 7 at Truckee (Calif.)

Oct. 13 vs. Churchill County (Fallon, Nev.)

Oct. 20 vs. Spring Creek

J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc.

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