Kuna High School
Conference: 5A Southern Idaho Conference - West Division Pod B
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Head Coach: Sherm Blaser
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 3 Years as Head Coach at Melba
5 Years as Assistant at Skyview
1 Year as Assistant at Eagle
1 Year as Head Coach at Madison
Record Last Year: 4-6
State Titles: 1991
Jerome Miller, WR, 12
Sam Cafferty, OL, 12
Tucker Heindel, OL, 12
Caden Cobb, RB/DB, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Jerome Miller, Second Team All-Conference WR
Key Players lost from last year:
Chase Spangler, OL/DL
Cody Trautman, DB/WR
Incoming impact players:
Dalton Bell, LB, 11
Hayden Brandon, LB, 11
Austin White, WR, 11
Written by: Sven Alskog
In his three seasons on the sideline in Kuna, Ian Smart helped turn the Kavemen into a tough out on a weekly basis, something which new head man Sherm Blaser will hope to do keep going.
Blaser comes to the new position after working as the head coach at Melba, while Smart is now at 5A SIC opponent Timberline.
On the defensive side of the football Kuna was stingy throughout much of 2016, helping lead the team into the playoffs.
Under the new coaching staff the Kavemen will continue to run a 4-2-5 look, meaning that if all goes well the defense should again be the strength of the group.
"Our biggest strength is some continuity in scheme. We are running a similar type of defense as the past with some similar terminology. Helps us play faster," said Blaser.
Where the questions really lie heading into the new season is the offensive side of the ball, where an anemic offense hopes to improve upon a less than 13 point per game average, including no games scoring more than 23 points.
There are some quality pieces coming back on the offensive end however, including receiver Jerome Miller, arguably one of the top returners in the SIC, who earned Second Team All-Conference honors last season.
Also back is quarterback Danny Rogers and offensive linemen Sam Cafferty and Tucker Heindel.
"[We have] size and strength up front on the offensive line," said Blaser. "We are a spread offense, but work to main a balance in the run to pass ratio."
He acknowledges improvement has to come in finishing drives.
"Ability to sustain drives and finish in the end zone. Have to improve on the ability to throw the ball as well to help keep us balanced."
Senior defensive end and tight end Nathan Erickson should be another quality player for Blaser to rely on.
It can be expected that defense will be the strength for the Kavemen again, meaning it is up to the offense to decide how far this team can go.
The early season schedule is a tough one for Kuna, including an opening week matchup with Bishop Kelly, a week two affair with Middleton and a road tilt at Rigby.
"Kids are hungry to take the next step," said Blaser. "[They] want to make a run in the playoffs."
It should be pretty easy to tell how far along the team has come in the offseason with Blaser at the patrols after those games, with the conference schedule beginning on September 15 at Nampa.