Burley High School
Conference: Great Basin (West) Conference
Head Coach: Jed Thomas
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: Assistant Coach Valley High
Running Backs Coach Carroll College
Record Last Year: 1-8
State Titles: None
WR/DB Emilion Polanco (Sr)
OL/DL Austin Hobbs (Sr)
LB/RB Michael Dayley (Sr)
OL/DL Victor Castro (Sr)
TE/LB Koby Mabry (Sr)
WR/DB Jose Diaz (Sr)
WR/DB Davis Gibbons (Sr)
WR/DE Ace Christiansen (Jr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Emilio Polanco (All-Great Basin Conference)
“Key Players” lost from last year:
TE/OLB Ryker Fenstermaker
OL/DL Adam Hepworth
QB/DB Coltin Millward
RB/LB Braxton Bedke
OL/LB Isaiah Jiminez
Incoming “impact” players:
WR/DB Luke Stowers (Jr)
WR/LB John Dayley (Jr)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
If there’s something that makes Burley head coach Jed Thomas smile, it’s likely the depth and experience of his skill-position players. If there’s something that may cause some concern, it could be the lack of experience in the trenches.
The key to the Bobcats’ season could very well end up being maximizing the former while grooming and improving the latter.
The team is coming off a 1-8 campaign and its conference, the Great Basin West, figures to be deep and tough. Minico looks strong, Wood River continues to improve as does Twin Falls. Jerome and Canyon Ridge will be factors as well, meaning no nights off for anyone in District IV 4A football.
That includes Burley.
Thomas only has two starters back along the offensive line, seniors Mitch Crane and Austin Hobbs, but has a slew of younger players ready for their opportunity to step in, led by senior Victor Castro. If players like Castro, Caden Seely, Giovanni Mahoney, Terrell Schaeffer and friends can rise to the challenge, it will allow the Bobcats to utilize their strength – a deep group of wide receivers and running backs.
Leading the way is two-time All-Great Basin performer Emilio Polanco at wide receiver. He’ll team with Davis Gibbons and Ace Christiansen along with newcomers Luke Stowers and John Dayley to provide options in the passing game.
“We are going to take what the defense gives us,” Thomas said. “We want to be as balanced as possible in terms of run versus pass plays.”
Helping create that balance is a deep stable of running backs, led by Michael Dayley. The senior could also see time at quarterback, replacing the departed Coltin Millward. When he does, the Bobcats can still turn to Jorge Rodriguez, Beau Phipps and Tyler Mabey to carry the football.
A more-productive offense (the Bobcats averaged about 20 points per game last season) will take pressure off the team’s defense in 2015. Burley returns most of its defensive starters in the secondary as well as linebackers. Polanco, who doubles as the team’s free safety, will lead a secondary that includes Gibbons and Sowers at cornerback. Michael Dayley, John Dayley, Mitch Crane and Koby Mabry return at linebacker, giving the team some much-needed depth, and the defensive line will be led by Castro, Hobbs and Christansen.
Thomas has opted to bring up his sophomores to the varsity level rather than having them play junior varsity, giving them valuable game experience and, at the same time, giving his varsity squad much-needed depth.
A number of those sophomores, like Mahoney, Schaeffer, Seeley and Mabey, are going to be asked to contribute immediately. If they grow as quickly as Thomas and his staff expect, Burley could be a factor in the 4A Great Basin West race by the end of the season.