Kamiah High School
Conference: 1AD1 Whitepine League
Classification: 1A D1
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Head Coach: Nels Kludt
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: Ass’t Coach, Kamiah HS
Head Coach, Kamiah Middle
HC Western Montana College
Ass’s Coach, Western Montana College
Record Last Year: 2-7
State Titles: 4 (1978, 2000, 2001, 2012)
QB/LB Kaleb Oatman (Sr)
WR/DB Tyrel Henry (Sr)
WR/DB Cristian Lopez (Sr)
RB/LB Luke Snyder (Sr)
OL/DL Peyton Whipple (Jr)
OL/DL Layten Gould (Soph)
Returning Players with Honors:
Whipple (2nd Team All-White Pine)
Oatman (Hon. Mention All-White Pine)
Henry (Hon. Mention All-White Pine)
Key Players lost from last year:
OL Chris Olive, 2-year starter at center
Photo By: Mark Borth - #3 Kaleb Oatman
Written by: Will Hoenike
Last season’s results were pretty atypical for fans in Kamiah. Two wins, no post-season.
“We have a strong senior class returning that wants to bounce back from last year’s disappointing season,” second-year head coach Nels Kludt told IdahoSports.com. “Our team has been working hard and are looking to redeem themselves.”
The standard is high around Kamiah. Consider this – the Kubs have won three state titles since 2000. There is only one 2A or 1A school in the state of Idaho has won more state football championships in that span than Kamiah (Salmon River, four 1A Division 2 titles) and only six in the entire state. Pretty rare company … company that the folks along the Clearwater River would like to see their team re-join.
Coach Kludt pointed to two things that would be key to moving toward that goal for the Kubs.
“Most importantly, we need to stay healthy. We will not be very deep, so we need to keep our veterans on the field,” he said. “Secondly, we need to play a lot better defensively to stay in games and give ourselves a chance.”
Case in point: Kamiah held two teams under 40 points last season. It won both of those games.
“Our defensive line, led by Peyton Whipple and Layton Gould, should be our defensive strength,” Kludt continued. “Kaleb Oatman (linebacker) and Tyrel Henry (defensive back) were both solid performers last year.”
The Kubs will look to senior Cristian Lopez to contribute in the secondary as well as senior Luke Snyder at linebacker. That creates a solid nucleus for Kamiah in 2017.
Offensively, the Kubs scored well in spurts last fall. Oatman returns as the team’s quarterback along with one of his favorite targets, Henry, at receiver.
“As a team in 2016, we did a decent job throwing the ball,” Kludt observed. “We have to do a better job running the football consistently, which will start up front with better offensive line play.”
The Kubs do need to replace two-year starter Chris Olive along the offensive front, but the team returns its other two offensive linemen from last season in Whipple and Gould. Again, that gives the team’s offense a good foundation from which to build. If the line can continue to progress, Oatman and Henry can connect on some big plays through the passing game and Snyder can team with the linemen to contribute the consistent rushing attack, well then … who knows?
It’s well-documented that the White Pine League, which Kamiah calls “home,” is as tough on a year-in, year-out basis as pretty much any conference in Idaho. That means the margin for error is small for any team.
“The White Pine League is extremely tough,” Kludt said. “So we’re going to be in tough games every week.”
The Kubs also have a tough non-conference game to open the season when the team takes on traditional toughie Valley High School from District IV. The Vikings won the 1A Division 1 state title two years ago and were in position to compete for another playoff berth last season before injuries at key positions derailed the team’s hopes.
Kamiah opens with three of four games at home, which is a benefit. The flip side of that coin, however, is that the team closes with back-to-back league games on the road, going to Genesee and Potlatch in late October.
The Kubs are accustomed to success. The 2017 campaign figures to see more success than 2016 did, but only time will tell if it is enough to get back to post-season play this fall.