Ririe High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
Head Coach: Jim Newton
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 3 years Ririe GridKid
Record Last Year: 0-8
State Titles: None
Kobe Nelson, RB, Senior
Dylan Angelsey, TE, Junior
Carter Smith, QB, Junior
Chase Yearsley, OL/DL, Junior
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Jake Wilson, OL/DL
Zach Gamett, TE
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
It’s something that the Ririe Bulldogs football program has not had in quite some time. It’s been a carousel of coaches in the small town just northeast of Idaho Falls. They also have not had many winning seasons – their last one was 2006. Their last state quarterfinals appearance was in 1989.
Jim Newton hopes to change that.
The former NFL lineman, who played for the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts, hopes that stability can allow his players to grow and his program to flourish.
“Ririe’s players are all very athletic and very talented,” he said to the Post Register shortly after his hiring, “I just need to point them in the right direction. I think my experience as a player and coach can help meld all of that together.”
He has a young cast of players to work with this season. After going 0-8 last year, the Bulldogs are hungry for the taste of victory.
Returning to the squad this year is junior quarterback Carter Smith, who saw his lumps in 2014. Alongside him is senior running back Kobe Nelson, who carried much of the offense last season.
Junior Dylan Angelsey takes over from Zach Gamett at the tight end position and Chase Yearsley brings back his experience to the offensive and defensive lines. Yearsley will anchor the line, which was led by the now-graduated Jake Wilson.
All in all, Newton has a lot of work to do with his young Bulldogs – but there is a lot of potential.
“There’s a new excitement about the team and a renewed sense of urgency,” he said.
On offense, Newton noted that the Bulldogs need to build on where they started last year – in the passing game and running the ball. There were flashes at times, but Ririe just couldn’t put a complete game together. However, a focus on team defense could help build momentum on offense for the Bulldogs.
“We have to improve in our tackling and finishing the play,” he said.
Getting those stops on defense can lead to a surge of confidence on offense and special teams. That confidence hasn’t always been there. But with some stability in the program, it may finally come.
“Our team motto this season is ‘No Excuses’”, Newton said. “For us to have success this year, we need to come together as a team and support one another.”
Support is something that just comes second-nature in Ririe. No matter the sporting event, the community rallies around their school and their kids.
The Bulldogs schedule is not an easy one this season. They open up at home against Star Valley, Wyoming before traveling in consecutive weeks to Malad and South Fremont.
They then welcome the defending 2A state runners-up, the Aberdeen Tigers, to Ririe on September 18. A potentially difficult conference slate then begins with a trip to Salmon, two home dates with West Jefferson and North Fremont, before finishing out the season on the road at Firth.
Newton and the Bulldogs are rebuilding the program from the ground up. As he said to the Post Register earlier this year, “I’m here as long as they’ll have me.”
For a school seeking stability, that phrase couldn’t sound sweeter.