Cascade High School
Conference: 1AD2 Long Pin Conference
Classification: 1A D2
Head Coach: Adam Mapp
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: Freshman Head Coach at Rocky Mountain. Assistant at Capital and Eagle
Record Last Year: 2-5
State Titles: 2001 1A Champions
WR Asa Speer (Sr)
DE/WR Tanner Hawkins (Sr)
LB/RB Sam Benzie (Sr)
RB Chris Gaicomazzi
Returning Players with Honors:
Speer (2nd-Team All Long Pin)
“Key Players” lost from last year:
LB/RB Rob Pair
OL Ryan Landers
QB Spencer Perkins
Incoming “impact” players:
LB Jaxon Kinsman (Jr)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
It’s been a few lean years in Valley County on the football field, something that the 1A Division 2 Cascade Ramblers hope to reverse this season.
“We have tremendous team speed,” second-year head coach Adam Mapp said. “Teams will have a difficult time matching up with our skill players.”
That must be music to the ears of Rambler football fans who have watched the program fall on some lean years after winning the state championship back in 2001. Dating back to 2009, Cascade has won a total of 13 football games. But maybe, just maybe, that trend will start to change in 2015.
The Ramblers, who open against another team looking to regain its seat at the state-playoff table (Notus) on August 28, have some holes to fill (notably – quarterback Spencer Perkins and linebacker Rob Pair) but also have, as Mapp noted, some explosive playmakers back in the Rambler uniform this fall. Whoever slides behind the center to take snaps for Cascade will be joined in the backfield by running back Chris Gaicomazzi, the second-year starter who runs with both speed and power.
But where Cascade will likely try to press the advantage is on the outside, with receivers Asa Speer, Tanner Hawkins and Sam Benzie. All three seniors, all three capable of big plays. Speer was an honorable-mention All-Long Pin selection as a junior while Benzie brings track speed to the football field.
Mapp said his offense was “fairly consistent” last season but is hoping that an improved offensive front will help. Bigger holes, better snaps and stronger pass protection should allow Cascade to improve upon its points-per-game average on offense, which was a shade under 30 per contest last season.
Defensively, the Ramblers allowed 33 points per game. Benzie (linebacker) and Hawkins (defensive end) return to fill key roles for Mapp and his staff. Junior Jaxon Kinsman should also take on a prominent role as well as one of the team’s linebackers.
“We only graduated three seniors last year,” Mapp said. “So most of the team is back, a year older and stronger.”
That’s important because Cascade faces a tough schedule. After opening at home against an improving Notus team, the Ramblers also host 1A Division 1 conference favorite Idaho City.
“Idaho City is a program that never seems to be rebuilding, only reloading,” Mapp said. “While it is an out-of-conference game, it will be a good test for our program.”
The tests keep coming, though, with a road date against Wilder, the 1A Division 2 state runner-up last season, and home dates against perennial Long Pin powers Council and Salmon River lining the schedule as well.
While the schedule is daunting, Cascade has the playmakers to cause opponents problems. Fundamentals, details and good health will be important if the Ramblers want to push through to a state playoff berth.