Malad High School
Conference: 2A South East Idaho Conference
Head Coach: Coda Tchida
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: Assistant Coach at Bozeman, MT
Record Last Year: 5-3
State Titles: None
Calvin Willie, QB/LB, Senior
Josh Howden, OT/LB, Junior
Hugo Ramos, C/DT, Senior
Josh Morley, FB/DE, Senior
Carson Cobabe, OT/DT, Senior
Hayden Green, WR/FS, Senior
Bracken Degn, RB/DE, Junior
Tucker Hess, OG/LB, Senior
Chase Davis, RB/CB, Senior
Josh Winterhawk, OT/DT, Senior
Returning Players with Honors:
Calvin Willie – 2nd Team All-District DE
Josh Howden – 2nd Team All-District DL
Carson Cobabe – 2nd Team All-District OT
Josh Morley - Honorable Mention DE
Hugo Ramos - Honorable Mention DT
Tucker Hess - Honorable Mention LB
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Derek Checketts, RB/FS – 1st Team All-Idaho FS
Carson Hoskins, QB
Michael Gallegos, FB/LB
Wyatt Martin, OG/LB
Braxton Clark, WR – 1st Team All-Idaho WR
Incoming “impact” players:
Rhett Daniels, OG/DE, Junior
Allen Atkinson, RB/CB, Senior
Gage Cherry, WR/CB, Junior
Devin Wilson, WR/CB, Junior
Jake Sorenson, FB/LB, Junior
Hunter Giles, RB/LB, Junior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
The 2014 season was one of promise for Malad.
The Dragons possessed quite a bit of firepower on offense, especially through the air, in a conference that is pre-dominantly run oriented. Malad could put up points in bunches and they could do so in a hurry.
A 5-3 season in almost any lower-classification conference will earn you a first round playoff berth. That was not the case for Malad.
A rare three-way tie between the Dragons, Bear Lake, and Aberdeen forced a Kansas City playoff between the three schools based on their identical 2-2 conference records. Only two could emerge with tickets punched to the state tournament. Eventual state runner-up Aberdeen snagged the first berth and then Bear Lake, despite a worse overall season record, snuck up on the Dragons and shoved them aside, preventing the small school just 13 miles north of the Utah border a chance at the postseason.
The 2015 edition of the Malad Dragons will be without the services of several graduated seniors, including 1st Team All-Idaho honorees Derek Checketts and Braxton Clark, along with quarterback Carson Hoskins, fullback Michael Gallegos, and linebacker Wyatt Martin. But that’s not to say Malad doesn’t have any returning, experienced players.
Dragons’ head coach Coda Tchida, now in his 4th season leading the program, says that this year’s crew will be able to create unique packages on the field.
“The coaching staff and I are really excited to see our fronts on both sides of the ball work together,” he said. “We want to win in the trenches this season.”
Taking over under center will be senior Calvin Willie, who will also shift over to linebacker from his defensive end spot on the other side of the ball. Joining him on offense are senior fullback Josh Morley, senior wide receiver Hayden Green, and running backs Bracken Degn and Chase Davis.
Malad brings back a wealth of experience on the offensive line too, including All-Conference selections Josh Howden and Carson Cobabe. Those two will anchor the line alongside Hugo Ramos, Tucker Hess, and Josh Winterhawk. Most, if not all, of these players will see significant time on the defensive line as well. Incoming junior Rhett Daniels may see a large chunk of minutes on the lines.
Tchida pointed to several skill position players who could make immediate impacts this season, including receivers Gage Cherry and Devin Wilson, along with running backs Allen Atkinson, Jake Sorenson, and Hunter Giles. All of these players could see time in the second and third levels of the defense too.
The coaching staff has revamped the defensive schemes for this season, hoping that results come sooner earlier in the season rather than later.
“We want to play some different defensive fronts and different looks this season,” Tchida said. “We want to make the offense have to deal with it.”
The Dragons will get to test out those front and schemes with early season games against Marsh Valley and Ririe – two teams that did not post a win last season. Malad will need to iron out any kinks in their coverage by then, because the middle of their schedule is among the toughest in the 2A ranks with a visit from Firth on Sept. 11 followed by road trips to North Fremont and Aberdeen. Tchida emphasized that all eight games are equally important to his football team.
He also stressed two keys to having success as a team this season.
“We have to keep our grades up and we have to stay healthy,” he said.
Tchida loves the game of football and loves to be around his players. He also greatly appreciates the support he receives from the community.
“There’s nothing like running out with your team on a fall Friday night,” he said. “Our community supports us. The town shuts down for any home game at Malad Field. It’s a great thing to see on a Friday night.”
He, along with the rest of the Dragons and their fans, hope that there will be at least one, if not more, Friday night football game to attend after the regular season ends.