Timberlake High School
Conference: 3A Intermountain League
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Head Coach: Roy Albertson
Years as Head Coach: 14th Season
Previous Experience: 30 total seasons
Record Last Year: 7-3
Brandon Hausladen (Sr, QB/S)
Clayton Rundgren (Sr, OL/DL)
Ryan Stevens (Sr, RB/CB)
Zach Craven (Sr, OL/DL)
Caleb Munson (Sr, RB/LB)
Mike Zorzi (Sr, WR/CB)
Returning Players with Honors:
Hausladen, IML Offensive Player of the Year
Written by: Will Hoenike
There are few high school football teams in the state of Idaho who know what it’s like to be both the hunter and the hunted the way that the Timberlake Tigers do.
Timberlake has not lost an Intermountain League game in years. Plural. Its three IML wins last season were by a combined score of 165-18. In 2014, 176-21. In 2013 … 215-65.
We could go on, but we think you get the point. The Tigers have dominated IML play like few teams have dominated their respective leagues in Idaho for several seasons.
However, over the past seven seasons, Timberlake’s postseason record is just 2-7 and each of the seven losses has come to a District III Snake River Valley team.
So they’re used to being hunted during the regular season. Long-time head coach Roy Albertson and his staff have done a tremendous job putting a quality football team on the field year-in and year-out in Spirit Lake.
But they’re also hunters. Hunting that big, breakthrough postseason win that will get them past the SRV and deep into the 3A state playoffs.
“We have a lot of seniors who are excited to continue to work hard and improve,” Albertson told the Preview, but he acknowledged that his team needs to stay healthy.
“We are a fast team that is going to fly around and hit people,” Albertson continued. “We just need some depth.”
If you mention that to opposing IML head coaches, you’ll likely get a crooked smile with the suggestion that they’ve heard that before. Yet, year after year, when the ball goes on the tee, Albertson, his staff and his players are just as good as ever, no matter how many kids they’ve replaced from the year before.
The Tigers do have some key pieces back this season, led by reigning IML Offensive Player of the Year Brandon Hausladen. The senior quarterback is flush with experience and knows how to operate the Tigers offense. He’ll have fellow senior Caleb Munson behind him in the backfield and seniors Clayton Rundgren and Zach Craven in front of him on the offensive line.
It’s certainly not a stretch to think that Timberlake could stay in the range of the 31.8 points per game the squad scored last season, though Albertson would like to see the team’s passing attack improve.
On defense, Rundgren and Craven pull double-duty along the defensive front with Munson at linebacker. The Tigers have good experience back in the defensive backfield with Hausladen (strong safety), Ryan Stevens (cornerback) and Mike Zorzi (cornerback) all returning to the Timberlake lineup.
The Tigers will face opponents from Idaho, Washington, Montana and Alberta in their non-conference schedule in anticipation of IML play, which begins on October 7 against Bonners Ferry. But all eyes on Spirit Lake usually look for the name “Lakeland” on the schedule. The two schools are separated by just ten miles and Albertson minces no words, calling the 4A Hawks, “our in-district rival.”
But the IML could pose challenges for the Tigers this season. Both Bonners Ferry and Priest River return a number of key players from last season’s squads and Kellogg isn’t too far behind, so Timberlake will have to dig in its heels a bit to continue its IML dominance.
History tells us not to bet against it, but it’ll be decided on the field.