The race for the Gatorade Idaho Football Player of the Year award seems likely to go through a pair of quarterbacks this season.
Senior Chad Chalich was a finalist for the honor last year, when he broke seven school records and led his Coeur d'Alene (Coeur D'Alene, ID) team to its first Class 5A state title in 25 years. This fall he's completed 81.1% of his passes for 1,441 yards and 17 TDs with just one interception, to lead the Vikings (6-0) to the state's No. 1 ranking.
In one half of a recent blowout win over Sandpoint, Chalich completed 17 of 17 passes for 287 yards and five TDS. Chalich has also run for eight touchdowns on the season.
Eagle High (Eagle, ID) quarterback Tanner Mangum has also put up some dazzling passing numbers, however, for a 6-0 Mustangs team ranked right behind Coeur D'Alene. Mangum has completed 140 of 206 passes for 1,944 yards and 21 touchdowns, with five interceptions.
Mangum was co-MVP of the prestigious Elite 11 football camp over the summer and he's the only Idaho player ranked in the ESPNU 150 (148th overall). He's already verbally committed to BYU, where he will eventually join 2008-09 Gatorade Idaho Football Player of the Year Taysom Hill, who changed his commitment from Stanford after completing his two-year Mormon mission.
Fruitland High (Fruitland, ID) junior Joe Martarano will likely be a linebacker in college -- he's already committed to Boise State -- but as a quarterback he led the Grizzlies to the Class 3A state title a year ago, and he has them undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the class once again. Martarano also played on state championship winning basketball and baseball teams as a sophomore.
Blackfoot High (Blackfoot, ID) is 6-0 to top Class 4A, thanks in large part to the efforts of senior signal-caller Trae Pilster. Pilster threw for 2,738 yards and 23 TDs in 2010.
If anyone is going to break up the POY fun for the quarterbacks, it's likely to be Minico High (Minico, ID) running back Brady May. May has already run for 1,322 yards and 22 touchdowns for the 7-0 Spartans, and he hasn't fumbled once in 165 carries.