Prep preview: Meridian eager to showcase redesigned tradition, culture

The Meridian High football has been building towards the 2022 season for years. The Warriors proved their program was for real with a 2021 5A semifinals appearance.

MERIDIAN, Idaho – The Meridian High School football team has been building towards this season for years.

“There’s a certain pride, there’s a certain thing here at Meridian High School,” head coach Jon Zamberlain said. “Building it [over] the course of these four years and the process, it’s been good. ”

Coming off an 8-4 2021 campaign and a triple-overtime loss in the 5A state semifinals, Meridian gets a chance to prove they are now in a place to reload quickly and run it back again.

“A lot of kids are antsy, ready to go,” senior offensive lineman Bridger Bivens said. “The seniors last year, they definitely set a standard. So, I think that’s really just gonna set up a good foundation for the season to come and get redemption.”

Four years ago, Jon Zamberlain took over the Meridian program.

“I think he’s really done a good job of changing the culture here and the tradition and I think he’s just changed it for the better,” Bivens said.

Zamberlain surrounded himself with qualities assistants and the players have reaped the benefits.

“Everybody’s always in,” senior linebacker / tight end Nathan Reynolds said. “Nobody ever just wants to sit out and like skip something. Everybody just wants to keep getting better.”

The Warriors have one of the most gifted signal-callers in the state. As a freshman last fall, Zeke Martinez gave the 5A Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) a preview of his potential – throwing for almost 1,000-yards and 9 touchdowns as a backup.

“Zeke is amazing,” Reynolds said. “Zeke just brings a whole bunch to this team.”

“Even last year being a freshman on varsity, man, he’s stellar,” Bivens added. “Sometimes I wish I was a junior so I could stay with him longer, but man, he’s gonna have a heck of a year.”

While his playmakers on the outside will have to prove themselves, senior center Bridjer Bivens will serve as the enforcer up front.

“I feel proud to take that leadership position and kind of hold our o-line accountable and make sure we all know what to do,” Bivens said.

On defense, linebacker Nathan Reynolds brings a similar attitude.

“Proud to be on the same team as him,” Bivens said. “Gatorade Player of the Year candidate, in my opinion, I think he should win that.”

The senior has multiple Division I offers and plenty of help in the middle of Meridian’s defense.

“Plays hard, competes hard,” Zamberlain said. “He’s a heck of a football player. I’m looking for him to have a great season this year and lead us.”

Without a doubt, the Warriors have found their way. While their redesign on the field is now complete, Meridian is looking to the front of their press box, which reads “1986, 2005 and 2007” to represent state championships.

“You know, we always look at that and we want to add another number and we’re like ‘well, where are we gonna put it?’ That’s a problem we want to have, “Bivens said. “We want to figure out where to put that other number. So, I think last year, just coming so close, that desire makes it that much stronger to get the construction going to find a new place to put the new number.”

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