St. Maries High School
Conference: 2A Central Idaho League
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Head Coach: Craig Tefft
Years as Head Coach: 7th Season
Previous Experience: Assistant, Kendrick HS
Assistant/Head Coach, Potlatch HS
Record Last Year: 12-0
State Titles: 2016
OL/DL Jake Martin (Sr)
OL/DL Parker Telford (Sr)
WR/DB Tyler Lohman (Jr)
RB/:B Caden Hall (Jr)
RB/LB Zack Renfrew (Jr)
WR/LB Caden Green (Sr)
TE/DL Chad Dickerson (Sr)
OL/DL Chris Yehle (Sr)
TE/DL Dan Howard (Jr)
TE/DL Gabe Martin (Sr)
TE/DL Glover Buell (Sr)
QB/DB Kaden Hammond (Jr)
RB/DB Derek Larson (Jr)
WR/LB Coy Sands (Jr)
OL/DL Austin Greatwalker (Sr)
OL/DL Nick Ozark (Jr)
OL/DL Gage Norton (Jr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Parker Telford, All-Central Idaho League
Key Players lost from last year:
Graduated 15 total seniors
Photo By: Steve Conner - #25 Zack Renfrew
Incoming impact players:
OL/DL Tyson Gauthier (Jr)
WR/DB Michael Bassett (Sr)
RB/LB Bryce Willet (Sr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
When IdahoSports.com asked St. Maries head coach Craig Tefft if there were any key players lost from last season’s team, he knew better.
He didn’t single a couple of players out off of the unbeaten, 12-win state championship team – the first state champion on the gridiron for the small, north Idaho town. Instead, he referred to them as a group.
“We lost 15 seniors off the team last year who will obviously be missed,” Tefft said. “This senior class (that graduated in 2017) provided great leadership, toughness, and will be missed in so many ways, it is too hard to list what they meant to our team.”
The memories live long in a town like St. Maries so, as Tefft indicated, it’s a group that won’t be forgotten. Now, it’s time for a new group to establish its own legacy.
First things first for St. Maries – the team will be looking for a new quarterback. Junior Kaden Hammond could have the inside track on that job going into the season and he’ll be protected by a big offensive line that will include the likes of 220-pound senior Parker Telford (an all-conference selection as a junior), 235-pound junior Nick Ozark, 230-pound senior Jake Martin, and 265-pound senior Chris Yehle. Also expect to see senior Austin Greatwalker, junior Gage Norton and junior Tyson Gauthier given a chance to earn playing time up front for the Lumberjacks.
Likewise, opportunity abound in the backfield for St. Maries. Zack Renfrew saw playing time as a sophomore and could step into a leading role on offense as a junior. Caden Hall and Derek Larson, also juniors, along with senior Bryce Willet will get carries on offense.
If Hammond needs to go to the air, he’ll have plenty of possible targets to choose from, including tight ends Chad Dickerson (Sr), Gabe Martin (Sr) and Glover Buell (Sr). The outside pass-catching options include junior Tyler Lohman, senior Caden Green, junior Coy Sands and senior Michael Bassett at wide receiver.
“We always want to be a balanced team in regards to run versus pass,” Tefft told IdahoSports.com. “But there are so many new faces on the varsity team this year, we really don’t know what our strengths are yet.”
The Lumberjack offense was good in 2017, but its calling card was defense. In twelve games, only one team – 3A Priest River, with 18 in mid-September – topped 14 points against St. Maries. There were three shutouts, two games allowing just six points, one with seven and two opponents (including a powerful Declo team in the 2A State Championship game) held to just eight points.
It starts up front defensively as well with junior Dan Howard looking to join the mix of Buell, both Martins (Jake and Gabe), Telford, Ozark, Yehle, Gauthier, Dickerson, Norton and Greatwalker to create pass rush and clog running lanes this fall. If competition breeds excellence, Tefft should be in good hands here with good depth.
Renfrew, Hall, Sands, Green and Willet will compete for repetitions at the linebacker spot while Bassett, Lohman, Hammond and Larson appear in line for playing time in the team’s secondary.
Tefft and his staff were able to get a lot of kids playing time last season, something that should pay off this season with so many kids having gotten some varsity reps last season.
“We have lots of speed on defense,” Tefft pointed out. “As a unit, we are very aggressive and have lots of playmakers.”
The team will get to test that play-making ability against a good schedule that includes something you don’t often see – the Lumberjacks, members of the 2A Central Idaho League, will face the entire 3A Intermountain League (Bonners Ferry, Kellogg, Priest River and Timberlake) during the non-conference portion of its schedule before playing its two league games in the final two weeks against Grangeville and Orofino.
“This group will be fun to follow and to see how much they can improve as the season goes along,” Tefft concluded. “Our conference is so tough so, hopefully, our non-league games will give us a chance to compete in the end.”
Though much of it came in different roles last season, there is a lot of experience and depth on this roster. If Tefft and his staff can get the new players to embrace new roles, continue to grow as the season progresses and (as with any team) avoid injuries, it should be another successful season in St. Maries.