Jerome High School
Conference: Great Basin (West) Conference
Head Coach: Sid Gambles
Years as Head Coach: 4th season
Previous Experience: 12 years at Jerome (Four as defensive coordinator.) One year at Gooding as defensive coordinator.
Record Last Year: 3-6
State Titles: 1985, 1986
Winston Sanchez (Sr)
Joe Lenker (Jr)
Nick Davis (Jr)
Colten Craig (Soph)
Returning Players with Honors:
Joe Lenker All-Great Basin TE
Winston Sanchez Honorable-Mention All-Great Basin DB
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #4 Joe Lenker
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Haziel Ledezma (WR/DB)
Tanner Crawford (OL/DL)
Incoming “impact” players:
Justen Dally (Sr, RB/LB)
David Harker (Soph., RB/LB)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
For head coach Sid Gambles, the reason to coach is simple.
“I like being around guys that want to be a part of something bigger,” the fifth-year head coach said. “I also love the non-stop ‘X-and-O’ battle that is a year-round pursuit.”
The year-round pursuit has led to good things for his Jerome Tigers in recent seasons. Despite finishing last season with an overall record of 3-6, Jerome has won two of the last three “Battle of the Bridge” rivalry games against neighboring Twin Falls and reached the state semifinals in 2013. What Gambles is looking forward to is that next step up to the top of the 4A’s Great Basin Conference.
Does that next step come this season? IdahoSports.com’s Magic 8 ball, when asked, replied with “Ask again later.”
Things working in Jerome’s favor – experience in some key positions. Most notably, Gambles returns his quarterback from last season as senior Nick McDonald is expected to once again manage the offense.
“He knows what we’re trying to do on offense,” Gambles said of McDonald. “We like to run zone-read with a mix of screens.”
McDonald has the security blanket of All-Great Basin tight end Joey Lenker. The 6-foot-1 junior returns for the Tigers as does junior offensive lineman Nick Davis.
Defensively, Gambles points to senior safety Winston Sanchez as another security blanket – “Winston is an experienced safety who can get us lined up and is a good playmaker,” Gambles said – along with junior linebacker Colten Craig.
Things that could give Jerome problems – an overall lack of experience. While the Jerome head coach is optimistic overall, he expects to play a lot of sophomores. That makes the season-opener in Hailey against Wood River on Aug. 28 pivotal for the Tigers.
“A win will give these young kids some momentum going forward,” Gambles pointed out. “We need our young kids to step up and make plays.”
Early confidence could be exactly what the doctor ordered for this team – a fast start opens the door for a return to the 4A state playoffs – with a second conference game in Week 2 against Burley.
With a veteran quarterback in McDonald and veteran defensive table-setter in Sanchez, getting that early confidence for younger players could make all the difference. If the Tigers can pick up some early wins, it buys everyone time for the younger players to gain experience before potentially season-defining games at home against Minico and on the road at Twin Falls to wrap up the regular season.
So … could the breakthrough come this season? It’s possible. Might it have to wait until next season when the large crop of sophomores has more experience? Possible. Like we said, ask again later.