Pocatello High School
Conference: 4A District 5-6 Conference
Head Coach: David Spillett
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 14 years at Century, 5 as Head Coach
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2006
Robert Blevin – Offensive Line
Jeff Davenport – Wide Receivers
Artie Holmes – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
Willie Walker – Linebackers
Rick Call – Defensive Line/Special Teams
Dylan Jorgensen, DB
Colter Brown, LB
Jacob Oblea, FS
Jeremiah Kempworth, LB
Photo By: Kyle Riley - #24 Dylan Jorgensen
Incoming “impact” players:
Tristan Villano, LT, Senior
Antwon Johnson, WR, Senior
Jarom Campos, WR/RB, Junior
Will Schumber, QB, Junior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
It was time for a changing of the guard at Pocatello High School. The football program needed a new vision and a new direction. So who better to bring in than a former Pocatello Indian who understands the rich tradition and history?
New head coach David Spillett returns to his alma mater to take over a program that had fallen from graces on the field in terms of winning and also off the field, as a bullying scandal cast a haze over the team last season. The former head coach at cross-town rival Century said that he wants to bring a fresh, new mentality to the program and inject enthusiasm all across the board.
“We are going to look a lot different this year compared to previous years,” he said.
That all starts will who he has coming back to suit up for the Indians. Spillett’s squad returns seven starters total, including three on offense and four on defense. His team is young, but very talented.
“We will have plenty of weapons to work with this season, including Dylan Jorgensen, Jeremiah Kempworth, Jarom Campos, Antwon Johnson, Colter Brown, and Dawson Keller,” Spillett said. “We want to attack offensively with our no huddle spread offense and get the ball to our playmakers. We want to use our tempo to try to gain an advantage.”
No huddle? At Pocatello High School? It’s about as much of a contrast as you can get compared to the slower style employed by the previous regime. It’s a style that Spillett believes in and had success with while at Century. But who is going to trigger that offense?
Fall camp allowed for a quarterback competition for the starting job between juniors Will Schumber and Bryant Kimbrough. Spillett told the Idaho State Journal that whoever wins the starting job makes it a win-win for Pocatello as both players fit his scheme well as quarterback or receiver.
Defensively, the Indians return four players from last season, including shutdown corner Dylan Jorgensen. Spillett said he expects Kimbrough to have a great impact at free safety with Colter Brown captaining the defense from the linebacker position. There are a lot of holes to fill on the defense, however.
“We want to mix things up defensively and we need to have more trust in each other and just do our job every play,” said Spillett.
The learning curve will be quick for the Indians this season as they try to make their way through the tough 4A District 5-6 Conference in eastern Idaho. The conference is regarded among the toughest in the state and nothing less than the best will do to achieve postseason aspirations.
“We live in an area where each week you get a chance to see some of the best football in the entire state,” said Spillett. “I can promise that each week these young men will give everything they’ve got and you won’t regret coming out to support the Pocatello Indians. We play in one of the best conferences in the state with some of the best coaches around.”
The Indians will only play an eight-game schedule, which is uncommon compared to all other 4A and 5A schools around the state, who normally play a nine-game regular season schedule. Pocatello opens up the season on the road at Twin Falls, before returning home for a two-game homestand against cross-town rival Highland in the annual ‘Black n’ Blue Bowl’ before hosting Jerome on September 11th.
The team then travels up I-15 for a date at Ravsten Stadium versus the Idaho Falls Tigers in their final non-conference tilt before the conference slate begins. Fortunately for Pocatello, their first three conference games are all at home, as they host Preston, Century, and Rigby in consecutive weeks before finishing out the regular season on the road at Blackfoot on October 16th.
Even with the difficult schedule ahead, Spillett is well aware of a factor that can derail even the best teams’ season.
“Just like most teams, we need to stay healthy and put the team success over individual accolades,” he said. “That is the X-Factor to us having success this season."
As much as Spillett wants to see success on the field, he really tries to focus on finding success off the field, as that success will hopefully breed more success down the road for these young men.
“Our motto this year is “Be The Best”, meaning that I want our kids to strive to be the best in everything they do on and more importantly off the field,” he said.
He added that this year’s motto is just an addition to one that he wants to follow the program each year: “Play Like A Champion and Win The Day.”
“This was the motto of my best friend and former assistant coach Travis J. Kunz, who passed away a few years ago,” Spillett said. “Travis lived his life this way and I want our kids to know the importance of this every year.”
The coach said that he understands how critical this period of a teenagers’ life is and how important it is to take an interest in each and every kids’ well-being.
“The reason I coach is simple – as a coach, you are placed in a situation where you are a role model whether you like it or not and it’s so important to me that me and my staff take every opportunity to help the players learn life lessons while they are a part of our team,” he said. “I would hope that after a player goes through our program they not only have a great knowledge of the game of football, but we as coaches have also given them a great foundation to become better people and the examples that we set and the lessons we teach allow them to be successful long after their playing career.”
While trying to mold and shape his players’ lives, the new coach hopes to do the same to the overall program at Pocatello.
“I’m most excited to see the change in our program. It’s been great as we’ve been trying to transform this group of great young men from a team to a football family,” he said. “I love to see the players, coaches, families, school, and community really buy in to what’s happening with Pocatello football right now. There’s a great buzz surrounding the football program right now and it’s been great to be a part of the change.”
Spillett loves his alma mater. He feels that there is a true sense of community at the downtown Pocatello high school.
“I believe that Pocatello High School is truly a special place starting with the leadership and guidance of our principal, Lisa Delonas,” he said. “Pocatello is a school where everyone matters and everyone is treated as equals.”
The new coach hopes to take that sense of equality at Pocatello and combine it with his ‘football family’ mentality to create a solid, strong program for years to come. He even takes it to a literal level.
“It’s great to be coaching alongside family as Joe Green, my cousin, serves as the junior varsity head coach,” Spillett said, noting that Green also is the head boys basketball coach. “I love that all of the athletic programs are in full support of each other and that they work well together and support all of our student-athletes. Pocatello has great coaches at every sport now and the coaches truly care for these student-athletes.”
Change doesn’t just happen overnight, but key and fundamental building blocks to that change can be put in place instantly. Spillett appears to have done that at Pocatello, and now it’s up to him and the Indians football family to evoke a change that, for the Pocatello faithful, will return them to prominence and contention for years to come.