North Fremont High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
Head Coach: Ben Lenz
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 13 years as Assistant Coach at North Fremont
Record Last Year: 6-4
State Titles: 1989
Stockton Dye, QB, Junior
Tanner Oberhansley, RB, Senior
Michael Mower, RB, Senior
Josh Hess, OT, Senior
Rhet Clark, C, Junior
Jordan Sharp, OG, Junior
Luke Nedrow, RB, Senior
Jacob Moon, WR, Senior
Hunter Zwart, RB, Sophomore
Caleb Hess, OL/DL/LB, Senior
Fili Labra, OG, Senior
Matt Shaw, WR, Senior
Returning Players with Honors:
Tanner Oberhansley – 2A Nuclear Conference Offensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Idaho RB
Michael Mower – 2A Nuclear Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Luke Nedrow – 2nd Team All-Conference DB
Caleb Hess, 2nd Team All-conference LB
Josh Hess, 1st Team All-Conference OL/DL
Rhet Clark – Honorable Mention All-Conference Center
Stockton Dye – Honorable Mention All-Conference QB
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Zak Clark – 1st Team All-Idaho OL
Tevyn Bell, TE
Incoming “impact” players:
Hunter Zwart, RB/WR, Sophomore
Sean Bell, LB, Sophomore
Blake Oberhansley, TE/OT, Freshman
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
The 2014 season ended about as painfully and unbelievably as one could imagine.
The North Fremont Huskies, entering the fourth quarter of their 2A state quarterfinal matchup against Grangeville, led 28-14 and had just reeled off a 16-point third quarter. The momentum, the crowd, and the matchup was in their favor.
But then, disaster struck – namely a few ill-timed injuries to the line and a case of fumble-itis.
North Fremont fumbled six times in the fourth quarter, losing five of them, and Grangeville punched in 35 straight points en route to a 49-28 victory at Kandler Field in Ashton. It was a bitter end to the Huskies’ first back-to-back winning seasons in a decade.
But, with experience comes wisdom and the Huskies hope this year that the tables will be turned in their favor.
Ben Lenz returns for his 4th season at the helm of his hometown team. He couldn’t be happier to be patrolling the sidelines for his beloved Huskies once again this year.
“My roots are deep here in Ashton and it’s extra special to have the opportunity to coach in a community that you grew up in,” he said.
He hopes to be able to lead his squad to their first state football championship since 1989. And with the amount of returning players they have, they very well could achieve that goal.
North Fremont returns All-Idaho senior running back Tanner Oberhansley along with senior Michael Mower to power the backfield. Senior running back Luke Nedrow will add to the foray of tailbacks along with sophomore Hunter Zwart.
“Our strength is our backfield experience with Mower, Oberhansley, and Nedrow,” Lenz said. “We also have a lot of speed with Zwart. Our focus is to set up the run game and establish the pass enough to keep teams honest.”
While Lenz admits that the passing game needs to be improved, he has a young quarterback in Stockton Dye who saw significant time under center last season in the absence of the now-graduated Shane Hill. Dye will take the reigns of the run-heavy offense that averaged 31.0 points per game last season.
He’ll be lined up behind the offensive line of Josh Hess, Rhet Clark, Jordan Sharp, Caleb Hess, and Fili Labra. While most of those five players are experienced, Lenz says it’s always tough to replace an All-Idaho player.
“Zak Clark (now graduated) was a leader on our offensive line,” he said. “We ran a lot behind him.”
North Fremont also will have to replace the services of tight end Tevyn Bell. Lenz said he will miss Bell’s blocking on the edge for the option.
Defensively, many of the same players return including Nuclear Conference Defensive Player of the Year Michael Mower.
“We have strength at linebacker with Mower leading in the middle,” Lenz said. “Our focus is to establish physicality and toughness.”
Many of the same players who line up on offense will also find themselves on the defensive side of the ball. The upside to it is that those players will have continuity from their teamwork on offense.
“We want to improve our team tackling and not giving up the big play,” said Lenz.
The potential downside to it is that fatigue and a loss of focus could come into play. As it is at most 2A schools in Idaho, a small group of players play most of the time on both sides of the ball. That’s especially true at North Fremont, who had only 24 kids last season heading into their state quarterfinal matchup with Grangeville. In fact, North Fremont has only 153 total students, which puts them under the 2A classification minimum cutoff. The school’s administration has already petitioned to stay at 2A, a petition that has already been given approval on a first reading from the Idaho High School Activities Association.
Regardless of the number of players on his squad, Lenz knows that this is a special time is his young players lives.
“I’m passionate about this sport and I coach to help these young men learn life lessons that hopefully help down the road,” he said. “And it’s always rewarding to establish the memories and relationships with so many people that are a part of the process.”
He added that the environment at North Fremont allows his to take pride and joy in his endeavors.
“North Fremont has always taken a lot of pride in its academics and it’s fun to teach and coach kids knowing that they are receiving an excellent education while having the opportunity to excel in all the extra-curricular activities,” he said. “Football has a lot of winning tradition and the community is great in the support of our kids.”
The 2A Nuclear Conference isn’t easy once again this year. Upstart West Jefferson looks to contend again this year and after knocking off perennial power Firth for the conference crown last season, the Huskies know that staying at the top may be tougher than getting there in the first place.
“We had two great games with West Jefferson and Firth last year, and I think those two games should be similar again this year,” Lenz said.
North Fremont remembers the way their season ended in 2014. Their desire is to erase those memories and build bigger, better ones this year – hopefully of the championship variety.
The Huskies open the season on the road at Jackson, Wyoming on September 4th.