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Idaho Falls High School

School Info
Conference: 5A District 5-6 Conference
Classification: 5A

Head Coach: Pete Molino

Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season

Previous Experience: Two years as position coach at Idaho Falls.
Two years with Grid Kid program.
Two years as Idaho State tight ends coach.

Record Last Year: 1-8

Conference Record Last Year: 0-5

State Titles: 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991

Assistant Coaches:
Sean Powell – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Ike Johnson – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers/Running Backs
Nick Brown – Special Teams Coordinator
Darin Monk – Defensive Backs
Dusty Hawker – Defensive Line

Photo By: Brad Barlow - #55 Dustin Grimaud & #28 Terrell Payne

“Key Players” lost from last year:
Jake Thornberry, QB/RB – Excellent athlete that was a strong leader. Plays football at College of Idaho.
Ben Strobel, Center – Held down the offensive line and was a good leader.
Jared Grimaud, DL – 3-year starter, tremendous work ethic, and a good leader.

Team Preview:
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)

There’s nowhere to go but up.

The 2014 Idaho Falls Tigers tumbled downward in the 5A District 5-6 Conference standings after a strong 8-2 campaign in 2013. A young team that lost multiple seniors now trying to replicate the success of their predecessors put a lot of weight mentally on the squad. A 1-8 overall record is all they had to show for their efforts.

But, with a new season and a clean slate, Idaho Falls is ready to ascend in the conference.

Pete Molino returns for his third season at the helm of the program and hopes that beginning this season, the Tigers can find some real consistency.

“We’ve had low numbers for a while. We are at the tail end of a 6-7 year bubble of low numbers that we’ve been watching move through the system, which has affected all sports at Idaho Falls High School,” he said. “With all that said, I’m very excited to see how these kids bond together, face adversity together, and compete together as a team.”

The Tigers do lose some key components from last year, including quarterback/running back dual threat Jake Thornberry, center Ben Strobel, and 3-year defensive line starter Jared Grimaud.

That all said, the Tigers have some pieces to build with this season.

“Our offensive line is coming in with good experience from last year as we only lost one senior,” Molino said.

Idaho Falls wants to use that offensive line as an anchor for the re-structuring of their offense this season.

“We definitely are focusing on improving our run game. We must develop that and be consistent with it,” he said. “We are not going to be able to pass the ball around and win games. We must run effectively, consistently throw the short game, and be able to threaten the deep ball.”

The passing game was the primary feature of the Idaho Falls offense in 2013, averaging 43.2 points per game. In 2014, with both the passing game and running game struggling, that number shrunk to 17.7 points per game. Finding that balance will be key this season for the Tigers.

Defensively, Molino hopes that a new face will invigorate a defense that gave up 36.1 points per game last year.

“We brought in a new defensive coordinator this season, Ike Johnson,” Molino said. “Ike is bringing in a new defensive system. We look to improve our ability to stop the run, win 1st and 3rd downs, and be more physical.”

But Molino wants more change than that. He wants a permanent identity to be built on defense.

“We have to form that identity of being physical and aggressive,” he said. “And we must stop the run.”

On special teams, he noted that they must take every opportunity on special teams and turn it into scoring opportunities.

The Tigers will have to fly right out of the gates too. They open up their season against 5A power Eagle, followed by dates with Rigby, Blackfoot, and Pocatello. Then, the conference slate comes around with a visit from Hillcrest, trips to Highland, Bonneville, and Madison, and finishing out with the 51st edition of the Emotion Bowl against archrival Skyline.

“No matter what’s going on with either Skyline or Idaho Falls’ season, when it’s time for the Emotion Bowl, it doesn’t get any bigger.”

While they play in big and important games, Molino knows there’s an even bigger game out there: the game of life.

“I coach high school football 100 percent to watch kids turn into responsible young men who have developed a strong work ethic, high moral standards, and community responsibility,” he said.

The Tigers are working hard to erase the memory of last season and create new, brighter memories this year. The road is long, but they believe they can finally find the consistency and winning mentality they’ve been searching for.

After all, there’s nowhere to go but up.

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