Sugar-Salem High School
Conference: 3A Mountain Rivers Conference
Head Coach: Tyler Richins
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 2009-2011 Shelley HS assistant coach, 2012-2013 Hillcrest HS assistant coach
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: None
Derek Ostermiller, RB/DL, Senior
Ethan Arnold, QB/DB, Senior
Caleb Cureton, OL/DL, Senior
Trayjen Miller, RB/DB, Senior
Jacob Baggett, K, Senior
Jaxon Williams, OL/DL, Senior
Camry Ingram, RB/LB, Junior
Colby Ingram, RB/LB, Junior
Returning Players with Honors:
Derek Ostermiller, 1st Team All-MRC DL, 2nd Team All-MRC RB
Ethan Arnold, 2nd Team All-MRC QB
Caleb Cureton, 1st Team All-MRC OL
Jacob Baggett, 1st Team All-MRC K
Camry Ingram, 1st Team All-MRC LB
Trayjen Miller, MRC Honorable Mention DB
Photo By: Josh Peterson - #8 Derek Ostermiller
“Key Players” lost from last year:
AJ Hansen RB/DB – AJ brought a lot of leadership to our team on and off the field. He was a shut down corner and could be trusted in man coverage. He will redshirt at Montana-Western this year.
Jared Purser RB/LB – Jared was an explosive running back that lead our team in rushing years despite missing three games with an ankle injury.
Bridger Hansen OL/LB – Bridger led the team last year with 74 tackles and had three sacks to go with it.
Incoming “impact” players:
Zak Gibson, WR/DB, Senior
Jasen Smith, TE/DL, Senior
Jaron Rose, RB/DB, Junior
Zach Belnap, OL/DL, Junior
Marcus Maxwell, OL/DL, Junior
Austin Williams, OL/DL, Junior
Angel Gonzalez, OL/DL, Junior
Junior Gonzalez, QB/DB, Junior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
The Richins name continues to impact the 3A Mountain Rivers Conference in eastern Idaho.
After a 4-5 campaign in his first year as head coach, Tyler Richins and the Sugar-Salem Diggers are ready to make big progress in Year 2. That progress starts with smashing old habits.
“Anytime there are changes in a program, there are difficulties breaking those habits,” said Richins. “We need to become a more disciplined team and play assignment football.”
That’s the mantra for the 2015 Diggers. Discipline.
It was this same mentality that led Richins’ father, Dwight, and the Shelley Russets to multiple state championship in the 2000’s. The younger Richins hopes to mold his young squad in the same manner.
“Teamwork, dedication, responsibility, courage, discipline and more. There’s no other team sport that I can think of that relies on so many different skills and abilities like football,” he said.
The offense will look much the same with the exception of starting running back Jared Purser, who graduated.
“Jared was an explosive running back that lead our team in rushing yards despite missing three games with an ankle injury,” Richins said. In 2013, Purser rushed for over 2,000 yards.
Returning to the fold is quarterback Ethan Arnold, with tailbacks Derek Ostermiller and Camry Ingram behind him. Camry’s twin brother Colby along with Trayjen Miller and Jaron Rose expect to see plenty of action this season as well.
If you’ve watched Sugar-Salem football in the past, you know immediately of their strength in the ground game.
“Our players love our style of offense,” said Richins, referring to the double-wing and wing-T formations that are popular in the Diggers playbook. “We enjoy the physical nature of it all. We look forward to what we do best and that is running the football.”
Richins mentioned the number of players returning to the offense this year that saw significant playing time last season as a strength in finding their bearings early on in the year. That will certainly aid the Diggers as they only return two starters from the offensive line while bringing in four juniors who should make an impact.
While Sugar-Salem is proud of their rushing attack, they know that developing other areas of the offense is important.
“We need to become more balanced in our offensive attack,” said Richins.
On the defensive side of things, the second-year head coach referred back to the mantra of discipline as a key for this season.
“Playing assignment football, being more disciplined, and breaking old habits,” he said. “We love to play physical and fly to the football. We believe we are smart and athletic enough to do what we need to do to matchup up with our opponents.”
The Diggers return several starters to the defense this year, including defensive linemen Caleb Cureton, Jaxon Williams, and Ostermiller. Arnold will see time at defensive back with Miller, while the Ingram twins will man the middle of the field from their linebacker positions. Those same four junior offensive linemen previously mentioned will also be expected to handle their share of the load on defense too.
Not returning this season are two key pieces from last year’s squad: AJ Hansen and Bridger Hansen, who both graduated.
“AJ brought a lot of leadership to our team on and off the field. He was a shut down corner and could be trusted in man coverage,” said Richins, who noted that Hansen is redshirting this year at Montana-Western.
As for Bridger Hansen, if the Diggers needed a tackle he was the man for it, racking up 74 tackles along with three sacks in just nine games.
Sugar-Salem will certainly have time to get the offense and defense tuned-up – their first conference game of the year is Oct. 9 at home vs. South Fremont, the seventh week of the season.
“As cliché as this sounds, we are taking the season one game at a time,” Richins said. “When it comes down to the so-called ‘games that matter’, we hope to be competing for a district title. I personally believe we have the toughest conference in the 3A classification.”
Richins takes great pride in his role as coach and mentor of many young men in the Sugar City area. He hopes that the effort and work put in on the field and the drive for success will translate to his players’ personal lives too.
“I coach football because I love the sport and how it allows our student-athletes to develop other aspects of their lives,” he said. “Our community cares about the total package when it comes to the student-athlete. We strive for excellence not only on the football field, but in the classroom. We believe if our student-athletes gain success in the classroom and on the field that they are set up for life.”
The work and effort from the players and the coaching staff is most certainly being put in on the field. Just how much progress the Diggers will make in 2015 remains to be seen.