American Falls High School
Conference: 3A South East Idaho Conference
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Head Coach: Tony Cade
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 7 years as assistant coach at Blackfoot HS, 1 year as assistant coach at Hillcrest HS.
State Titles: None
Paul Orr-- Line Coach
Tyler Newsome—Defensive Coordinator Linebackers
Jason Stucki –Assistant Coach
Tim Wilson –DB/WR Coach (JV head Coach)
Richard Westland –Assistant coach (JV)
Abe Ray—Assistant Coach (JV)
Trent Smith—Assistant Coach(JV)
Boone Giulio, QB/DB, 11
Luis Cervantes, RB/LB, 11
Tyler Beck, FB/LB, 11
Cameron Henesh, TE/DB, 11
Brandon Boyer, OL/DL, 11
Corben Boyer, OL/DL, 11
James Ramsey, OL/DL, 11
Russ Adkins, 11
Pedro Palcios, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Boone Giulio – 2nd Team All-Conference QB
Luis Cervantes – 1st Team All-Conference LB, 2nd Team All-Conference RB
Tyler Beck – 2nd Team All-Conference LB
Cameron Henesh – 2nd Team All-Conference DB
Brandon Boyer – 1st Team All-Conference DL, 2nd Team All-Conference OL
Corben Boyer – 1st Team All-Conference OL, 2nd Team All-Conference DL
Pedro Palcios – 1st Team All-Conference K
Key Players lost from last year:
Tate Grover, RB/LB
Joey Morris, WR/LB
Coleton Adamson, TE/LB
Incoming impact players:
Austin Vasquez, RB/SS
Russ Adkins, RB/OLB
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
Last season marked the beginning of a turnaround in the American Falls football program. After a few years of losing seasons, the Beavers finally found themselves in a position that would aim them towards the future. After hiring Tony Cade as the head coach, the rebuilding process began in earnest – and the results came quickly.
After starting out 0-2 last year, American Falls went 4-3 the rest of the way and showed real growth throughout the season. Even better? Most players at key positions were not seniors last year, allowing them another year or two to grow in Cade’s new-look program. The second year head coach said that he’s seen a big difference in his players from the end of last season until now.
“Maturity is the word I would use,” said Cade. “Sophomores to juniors make a huge difference in a growing program. The learning curve is not as steep as it was the previous year. The kids worked hard and put the time in that they needed to.”
The offense returns eight starters who all played significant roles last season for the Beavers. Cade expects his team to continue the growth pattern he’s seen from them over the summer.
“Over the summer, we came together as a team and had a quick learning curve in remembering key elements from the offense last year,” he said.
Returning this season under center is junior Boone Giulio, who started every game last season at quarterback for the Beavers. Cade said that Giulio is growing more and more as a leader every day. Also returning is running back Luis Cervantes, who was a player that was relatively under the radar last season despite good stats.
“Luis has huge upside for us as he was seven yards short of 1,000 for the season,” Cade said. “He brings a passion and energy that is hard to find in football players these days.”
The offensive line is mostly intact as three of five starters return from last years squad. Cade said another year of varsity football under their belts will only help, as they were outmatch a lot last season against upperclassmen.
Cade said that his offense will miss the services of a few players no longer with the team. Running back Tate Grover and wide receiver Joey Morris were excellent leaders last season for the young team and tight end Coleton Adamson was Giulio’s favorite target, leading the conference in receptions last year as a sophomore. Adamson has transferred to Century High School in Pocatello.
Stepping in to aid Cervantes in the run game this season are Russ Adkins and Austin Vasquez. Adkins rushed for 776 yards last season. Cade said that tight end Cameron Henesh could be a player that provides a big impact for the Beavers on offense, which averaged 23.1 points per game in 2015. The coach said that they have a lot of talent on the roster but they will need to harness it in order to be successful.
“We want to get the ball out quicker to the receiving corps and be more physical up front this season,” said Cade. “We have great skill kids and finally some depth there. Our line is tough but not very deep. Our focus and effort is what we hope will improve this season.”
Defensively, the same eight starters on offense also return to the defensive side of the ball this year. Cade said having that experience will really help their growth early on in the campaign.
“Cervantes at linebacker is one of our strengths as he gained a lot of experience last year,” he said. “Those returning starters should prove to be beneficial with the experience that they bring back.”
Cade said a big focus during the offseason was working on defending the pass, especially in the secondary.
“Our secondary was awful last season,” he said. “We have fixed many of those issues and feel that we are a lot stronger there this year.” American Falls gave up an average of 35.9 points per game in 2015.
The football staff at American Falls has worked very hard to change the culture of the program from what it was when they arrived last year. Cade said helping players to be accountable has aided in that process.
“Our motto this year is ‘Own It’, and to us it is time that American Falls owns up to their identity and plays a physical brand of football,” he said. “It also means being accountable for your own actions and not blaming others or making excuses of why you did not accomplish your task.”
The work done by the staff in first year is already paying dividends. The number of players in non-varsity level football has jumped and momentum is growing overall.
“We have close to 30 kids out between freshman and sophomores,” said Cade. “The older group is still thin, however their ability to be leaders and examples builds a foundation that has been lacking here. I trust that once the varsity understand the difference between a nagger and a leader, they will solidify everything we are aiming for. Building a team concept is our ‘X-Factor’ to the season.”
That team concept will be tested early on for the Beavers. They open the season at home in the annual ‘War of the Reservoir’ against cross-dam rival Aberdeen, the defending 2A state runner-up. American Falls then hits the road for a game against Kimberly, a team expected to push Gooding for the conference title in the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference of District 4. The Beavers then return home for two straight games against Filer and Soda Springs.
American Falls then heads south to the Silver State to take on Battle Mountain, a team they beat 28-8 last year. They then hit the toughest stretch of the schedule as they visit perennial 2A power Declo, host defending conference champion Snake River, and end the year at what should be an improved Marsh Valley squad.
“Aberdeen is, for some reason, a big game for the fans,” Cade said with a smile. “That game brings out the community and they all have fun. Snake River is definitely a must-see game as it always is. With district implications on the line, it’s a fun night as well. Snake River is the front runner in the conference until they are knocked off.”
Cade is excited at the potential of his team this season and what it means for the future of Beavers football.
“I’m most excited about the opportunity these players have to be great. They have put in time and are still young, but have a desire to be great,” he said. “The possibilities for these players are endless. They are at the edge right now waiting to free fall and have fun. But they need to learn to drag the others with them to all jump together to greatness.”
Watching that process unfold is one of the reason why Cade loves being involved in high school football so much.
“For me personally, it’s my hobby, passion, and life. I love seeing the growth of boys to men and taking the opportunity to teach life skills that I value. Times are hard for some kids and they need to express an outlet in other ways than trouble. Kids often call me hard, however that is only before they realize I will go through a wall for them.”
American Falls football is in good hands. The school, community, and fans should all be very pleased with the direction the program is headed. The Beavers are no longer the conference doormat. They plan on doing some doorstep stomping themselves this season.