Skyline High School
Conference: 5A District 5-6 Conference
Head Coach: Scott Berger
Years as Head Coach: 7th Season
Previous Experience: 33 years
Record Last Year: 5-5
State Titles: 1985, 1986, 1989, 1992
Chase Owen, Center, Senior
David Nawrocki, NT, Senior
David Ames, RB, Junior
Brock Davis, WR/DB, Senior
Jake Doherty, LB, Senior
Caleb Campbell, WR/DB, Senior
Parker Stenerson, WR/DB, Senior
Garrett Whitehead, TE, Senior
Photo By: Brad Barlow - #3 David Ames
Incoming “impact” players:
Kyler Morgan, RB, Sophomore
Carson Lott, WR/DB, Junior
Daniel Helsley, OL, Sophomore
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
Last season came down to one kick for the Skyline Grizzlies. Miss it and you’re done. Make it and it’s on to the playoffs.
Jorge Carmona wasn’t going to miss.
In a story more fit for the Emotion Bowl than a mini-playoff, Skyline’s extra-point make sent the Grizzlies to state and their cross-town rival Hillcrest home. Prior to that kick, Skyline had blocked the Knights’ extra point attempt, helping to set the scene for the finale.
While they would love to go to state any year, Scott Berger and his team would probably like to skip the anxiety that comes from a win-or-go-home mini-playoff next time around.
They would rather lock up their spot during the regular season.
Berger, now in his 7th season leading the Grizzlies, has seen his ups-and-downs as a coach. His first season saw his squad win six games but miss the playoffs. After consecutive five-win seasons in 2010-2011, Skyline recorded back-to-back three-win seasons. The trend was not moving in the direction he had hoped.
However, a return to winning ways happened last season as the Grizzlies finished the season 5-5 after a first round state tournament loss to Capital. Skyline hopes the trend continues in the right direction.
The Grizzlies return several players with significant experience this year, including junior running back David Ames, who single-handedly took over games at crucial moments last season. Incoming sophomore running back Kyler Morgan is expected to make an impact as well.
An experienced wide receiver crew is back with seniors Brock Davis, Caleb Campbell, and Parker Stenerson. They are joined by junior wide receiver Carson Lott. Senior Garrett Whitehead will be the main figure at tight end.
“We have some talented skill position players who are capable of making big plays,” Berger said.
Senior center Chase Owen returns to anchor the offensive line this year, which may need some time to gel as several new starters occupy vacant spots. Sophomore Daniel Helsley is slated to take one of those positions. Berger hopes the transition is quick: without it, the area he’s wants to improve upon the most will struggle.
“We want to improve in our run game,” he said.
Defensively, five starters return last season’s squad including senior nose tackle David Nawrocki. Skyline’s front seven will be young, but they are hungry. Senior Jake Doherty will lead the linebacking core, which Berger said was a team strength.
The main returning experience on defense comes from the secondary. Campbell, Davis, and Stenerson all return and, along with Lott, should prove to be tough. Even with the strengths in the secondary and the linebacking core, there’s work to be done overall on defense.
“We need to focus on stopping our opponents run game,” he said. “We have great team speed overall, so run-stopping is key for us.”
Berger explained that he has many talented younger players and that if they can develop, they could be very dangerous. Developing players is something that he has a passion for.
“I enjoy coaching high school football and being around our young men at Skyline,” he said. “I enjoy watching them develop to their full potential.”
He continued on saying that if the Grizzlies can avoid the injury bug this year, that potential could be realized a lot sooner and lead to much success this season.
Seasons have come and gone. Some have resulted in a playoff berth, others have ended in frustration over what could have been. But no matter what the season holds, there is always one game that means more than all the rest: the Emotion Bowl.
“The Emotion Bowl against Idaho Falls is the must-see game of the year,” Berger said. “If you have never seen one before you need to see this game. It’s something that the whole community rallies around. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to people in this town. It’s just a special thing for us and the Tigers.”
Even when a season goes awry, the school that wins the Emotion Bowl takes great pride in having won the rivalry matchup – and painting those old goalposts.
The 51st Emotion Bowl is slated to be played at Ravsten Stadium on October 24th as the final game of the regular season (a game which will be broadcast on IdahoSports.com). But there is much work to do before that game can even be thought about.
Skyline travels to 5A powerhouse Coeur d’Alene on opening week, followed by home games against Blackfoot and Bonneville. A quick trip up Highway 20 takes them to Rigby to play the Trojans on Sept. 18. They then finish the year with games against Century, Hillcrest, Highland, Madison, and Idaho Falls, with the Hillcrest game being the only one away from home during that stretch.
It could be close once again, but Berger and the Grizzlies know that they must take advantage of every opportunity to climb in the standings and potentially lock up a second straight playoff spot.