Priest River Lamanna High School
Conference: Intermountain Conference
Head Coach: Shane Douglas
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Record Last Year: 3-5
WR/LB Tommy Anselmo (Jr)
QB/DB Anthony Storro (Jr)
RB/LB Noah Jamison (Jr)
OL/DL Joshua Coombs (Jr)
RB/LB Tallin Hanes (Jr)
WR/DB Collin Dietrick (Jr)
OL/DL Sammy Hernandez (Jr)
OL/DL Derrick Melton (Soph)
Incoming “impact” players:
OL/DL Dylan Patterson (Jr)
WR/DB Nathan Petit (Jr)
RB/LB Caleb Blancher (Soph)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
Coming off a three-win season where the team topped 20 points just one time, head coach Shane Douglas knew there was room for his Priest River Spartans to grow in 2015.
“We are young this year,” Douglas told IdahoSports.com. “We are looking forward to developing great habits, technique and team atmosphere this season.”
Does that make it a throw-away season in north Idaho? Hardly. Consider it a building season with promise for good things on the horizon.
For the Spartans, it starts with defense. Priest River surrendered over 38 points last season and graduated three All-Intermountain League performers (DL Brad Drake, LB Trent Slinger and DB Chance Stokes). That opens the door for new players to come in for Coach Douglas this coming season.
Linebackers Tommy Anselmo, Noah Jamison and Tallin Hanes, all juniors, will be counted on to make plays all over the field for the Priest River defense. Sophomore Caleb Blancher is also expected to see time at the linebacker position. Up front, juniors Joshua Coombs and Sammy Hernandez will team with sophomore Derrick Melton to help control the line of scrimmage.
“We need to pressure the QB more this year,” Douglas said of defensive keys to the season. “And have had the athletes work on pass-rushing technique continually.”
More pressure from the defensive front will help the secondary in pass coverage. Juniors Anthony Storro and Collin Dietrick will be joined in the defensive backfield by fellow junior Nathan Petit this fall.
Offensively, Anselmo has the makings of a solid playmaker for the Spartans. In one of the team’s wins last season, a 36-33 win over Chewelah (WA) early in the campaign, the then-sophomore picked up 140 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns. Storro will be under center as the team’s quarterback, a year older and wiser after throwing six touchdown passes as a sophomore and running for three more.
Douglas wants to see the running game continue to improve. Jamison and Hanes will also see time in the backfield along with Blancher for the Spartans behind an offensive front that includes Hernandez, Coombs, Melton and junior Dylan Patterson. Dietrick and Petit will be pass-catching targets at wide receiver when Priest River goes to the air.
The Spartans have not appeared in post-season play since an opening-round loss to Payette in 2012. The challenge is formidable – though certainly not impossible – for the young team this season with perennial IML power Timberlake standing in the way along with Kellogg under new leadership and a Bonners Ferry team that has nearly doubled its roster size since last season.
In fact, Priest River faces Bonners Ferry twice in 2015, including a home date in mid-October which could go a long way in determining IML playoff livelihoods.