Kellogg High School
Conference: 3A Intermountain League
Share preview with friends!
Head Coach: Dan Lucier
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: Superior (MT) HS (32 years)
Pullman (WA) HS (5 years)
Record Last Year: 1-8
TB/DB Wolfgang Beier (Sr)
TE/DE Jacob Hammerberg (Sr)
RB/LB Ryan Morgan (Sr)
OL/DL Weston Stevenson (Sr)
WR/DB Chris Jennings (Sr)
Incoming impact players:
QB/DB Chase Jerome (Sr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
The 3A Intermountain League offers plenty of intrigue in 2017. Each of the four teams in the league have a reason to say, “hey, we can make the playoffs this season.”
That would, obviously, include the Kellogg Wildcats, who have a new head coach. Dan Lucier has moved from Pullman (WA) High School to Kellogg and he doesn’t even try to hide his goals for the Kellogg program.
We have had a losing record for a long time,” Lucier told The Preview. “That is coming to a fast end.”
There’s reason for optimism along Interstate 90 for the Wildcats. The team returns five players who were all-league honorees last season (Wolfgang Beier, Jacob Hammerberg, Ryan Morgan, Weston Stevenson and Chris Jennings), the most of any of the IML teams. A new coach bringing new ideas and new energy to a team that returns some talent? Lucier is ready to get things going.
“We need to play with passion and electricity and develop our full potential,” Lucier said. “Our fans are hungry for success as well as our players.”
The Wildcats return an experienced backfield with quarterback Chase Jerome and both Beier and Morgan at running back. He’ll also have Hammerberg at tight end and Jennings when the ball needs to go in the air.
The team doesn’t have a lot of experience along the offensive and defensive fronts – all-league OL/DL Weston Stevenson does return, though – so Lucier and his assistant coaches (one is Tim Kimberling, who was the head coach the previous two seasons) will need to develop some depth along the front line. Strong play along the offensive front will be a key for the Wildcats, who struggled to score consistently in 2016. In nine games, Kellogg scored 21 or more just twice.
Lucier has confidence in the defensive core returning for Kellogg, led by Stevenson and Hammerberg along the defensive line. Morgan will fill a role at linebacker and Beier and Jerome are back in the defensive backfield.
“We are very athletic and we get to the ball in a hurry,” Lucier said of his defense coming into the season.
The four-team IML has been Timberlake’s personal playground for the past several years. Could this be the year that the rest of the league finally catches up to the Tigers? Bonners Ferry, Priest River and Kellogg all have reason to think that they could give the long-time IML bullies a run for their money this fall. One thing not working in Kellogg’s favor with three IML games – two of its three league games are on the road, including a game at Timberlake on October 6. Lucier and his team will have to get the job done away from home if they want to contend for an IML title or claim one of the league’s two postseason spots.
With a veteran offensive backfield and some returning talent on defense, Lucier has reason to think things could turn around quickly in Kellogg. Taking care of the football, staying healthy and, as mentioned before, winning on the road will be three big keys to the team’s success in 2017.
If the Wildcats do those things … if they play with confidence, if they continue to improve every day … Lucier’s prediction of brighter days in Kellogg’s near future could easily come true.