Moscow High School
Conference: 4A Inland Empire League
Share preview with friends!
Head Coach: Phil Helbling
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: 4 Seasons as Assistant
Record Last Year: 2-6
State Titles: 1981 and 1992
OL/DL Tanner Newton
OL/DL Andrew Schwendiman
OL/DL Samuel Wright
OL/DL Chris Anrews
OL/DL Sam Akin
OL/DL Adam Wallace
QB/DB Peyton Broenneke
QB/DB Grant Clary
RB/LB Bryson Gottschalk
FB/LB Marshall Krewer
WR/LB Ethan Broux
WR/DB Danny Johnson
WR/RB/LB Jake Kiblen
WR/DB Zack Watson
WR/DB Andrew Peitzrak
Returning Players with Honors:
Wallace, Newton All-IEL
Key Players lost from last year:
OL/DL Nate Davis
OL/DL Wyatt Youngblood
OL/DL Pat Coulter
RB/LB Bryson Bennett
Incoming impact players:
WR/DB Brekken Mower (Jr)
WR/DB Jacob Gray (Jr)
WR/DB Jacob Cardwell (Jr)
WR/DB Derek Rauch-Edwards (Jr)
TE/LB Riley O’Connell (Jr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
Sixth-year head coach Phil Helbling brought up a couple different words that should be music to the ears of fans of the Moscow Bears – “depth” and “versatile.”
Since winning four games in 2011, the Bears have won a total of ten football games in the past five seasons and has lost its last 13 games outside of Moscow But, because of those two words, there is reason to think those trends could change in 2017.
“We are returning a lot of key players from the 2016 season,” Helbling told IdahoSports.com. “We have more depth in the skill positions than years past … we are looking to be very versatile on the offensive side of the ball.”
The team returns starting quarterback Peyton Broenneke and running back Jake Kiblen. Tight ends Brysen Gottschalk, Marshall Krewer and Danny Johnson … depth. Receivers Jacob Gray, Derek Rauch-Edwards, Brekken Mower, Grant Clary and Ethan Broux … again, depth. The team also returns a pair of three-year starters up front in senior center Adam Wallace and senior tackle Tanner Newton. Andrew Schiendiman, Samuel Wright, Chris Andrews and Sam Akin will battle for playing time up front as well.
With those players returning to the fold this fall, the mission for the Bears offense is simple.
“Number of points per game,” Helbling quickly pointed out. “We need to score more.”
The team averaged just over 17 points per game last season and the coaching staff hopes a more consistent running game and the ability to attack down the field can help increase that number this season.
When the focus shifts to the defense, Helbling again mentions the word “depth.” The Bears have four players vying for linebacker positions: Krewer, Gottschalk, Kiblen and junior Riley O’Connell. Four players ready to compete for snaps at safety: Johnson, Clary, Gray and Rauch-Edwards. Seniors Andrew Pietzrak and Zach Watson return at the cornerback position while Newton and Wallace return along the defensive front.
“This should help in the overall depth and defensive scheme we play,” Helbling pointed out. “Like every year, a key to our success is going to be keeping our guys healthy.”
Depth. Experience. Versatility.
Those traits should serve the Bears well in the 4A Inland Empire League. League rivals Sandpoint and Lakeland each return key players but two of the three IEL teams will qualify for postseason play in the 4A classification, so the door is open for Moscow to capitalize on those roster traits.
Helbling pointed to the team’s first game this fall, August 25 at Grangeville, as a big, big game for the team. First of all, as Helbling notes, the 2A Bulldogs are a tough foe year in and year out. And, secondly, Moscow hasn’t won a road game since winning in Sandpoint, 45-21, on October 12, 2012. The Bears play five road games in 2017, so breaking that streak and winning games away from their home field will be pivotal if they hope to qualify for, and ultimately advance in, the 4A state playoffs.
“This team does not have a lot of hype surrounding them,” Helbling said. “Everyone understands they have a position to earn and a job to do.”
Depth breeds competition, which breeds improvement. Coming off of a two-win season in 2016, there’s no reason the Bears should not be able to show improvement on the field and in the win/loss column and, in doing so, push for a playoff spot.
In a three-team conference, it’ll likely come down to the final game of the regular season for one (or both) of the combatants when Moscow hosts Sandpoint on October 20. Not only a playoff spot but, potentially, an Inland Empire League title could be at stake.