Head Coach: Chris Culig
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 26 Years
Record Last Year: 9-3
State Titles: 2015
Scott Criner, OC
Art Roper, OL
Mike Vanderhoff, QB
Mason Vanderhoff, Offensive Assistant
Tim Souza, WR
Tim Stanley, Co-DC/LB
Jake Pele, DL
Blake Gonzalez, Kick/Defensive Assistant
Lamont Oliver, RB
Kaleo Nawahine, DB
Brayden Hamilton, WR/TE, 12
Garrett Beck, LB, 12
Nick Romano, RB, 12
Tre Page, QB/DB, 12
Colby Jackson, QB, 11
Kaimana Nawahine, DB, 12
Joe Strickland, LB, 12
Conner Croft, WR, 12
Isaiah Jacobsen, DL, 12
Tristan Holt, DL, 12
Gerrit Tamminga, OL, 11
Anthony Garza, OL, 12
Colton Potts, OL, 12
Payton Lamm, WR, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Nick Romano, 1st Team All-SIC FB
Brayden Hamilton, 2nd Team All-SIC TE
Isaiah Jacobsen, 2nd Team All-SIC DL
Garrett Beck, Honorable Mention All-SIC LB
Joe Strickland, Honorable Mention All-SIC LB
Gerrit Tamminga, Honorable Mention All-SIC OL
Key Players lost from last year:
Keeghan Freeborn, OL/DL
Carter Kuehl, RB
Trevor Manu, DB
Bo Stevens, DB
JT Ti'a, DB
Zach Irwin, WR
Anthony Tuccinardi, LB
Jarrek Lattimer, WR
Kyle Van Tonder, QB/P
Photo By: Steve Conner - #15 Colby Jackson
Written By: Sven Alskog
It was a bit of a hard-luck 2017 campaign for Rocky Mountain football, with two one-point regular season losses and a 26-3 defeat in the 5A semifinals to eventual state champion Highland.
There was as much parity as ever within the classification a year ago, with tough defenses from Mountain View, Borah, Eagle and Highland holding the multi-offense attack of the Grizzlies within check during their matchups.
This season it will be a new look offensively for Rocky Mountain after switching between two different styles for the duration of last year.
“Last season we ran two different offenses [option and one back]. This season we have combined into one offense led by returning quarterbacks Tre Page and Colby Jackson. We are also excited to see how explosive Nick Romano can be as the featured running back,” said second year head coach Chris Culig.
Piloting the offense will be a familiar face, as former head coach Scott Criner returns to the sidelines following a one year stint as the Eagle athletic director. In four years under his direction previously, the Grizzlies went 38-9, winning a state championship in 2015.
Standout lineman Keeghan Freeborn (Boise State) and running back Carter Kuehl (Air Force) are difficult pieces to replace, but there is hope that a strong receiver core can help Rocky Mountain adapt to a more pass-heavy offense, while an offensive line group with depth should help mitigate the loss of Freeborn.
“We have an outstanding core of wide receivers in Brayden Hamilton, Conner Croft, Kaden Birch, Payton Lamm, Justin Jones, Dylan Shaner, Dylan Olley, Braeden Maxwell and sophomores Max Nead, Jordan Erickson and Kai Nelson. The offensive line is solid with varying degrees of experience. This group is led by seniors Colton Potts, Sam Nelson, Cameron Foster and Anthony Garza and juniors Gerritt Tamminga (returning starter) and Devon Long, as well as sophomore Justin Kozlowski, who will be a major part of our rotation,” said Culig.
A defense led by senior defensive back Kaimana Nawahine should ensure that the Grizzlies are close in every game they play.
Garrett Beck, Joe Strickland, Ryan Douglas and Jacob Piscione are the men in the middle who lead a group that really stands out to their head coach.
“We will be linebacker centric and utilize the abilities of our experienced linebackers.”
The group has a nice combination of speed and athleticism that will also need key contributions from the front line and the secondary to force more turnovers.
“Defensively we are extremely fast with a dynamic set of linebackers and safeties. Senior linebackers Garrett Beck and Joe Strickland should be explosive playmakers, along with juniors Ryan Douglas and Jacob Piscione. Returning starter at free safety, Kamiana Nawahine, will head an athletic but less experienced secondary than last season,” said Culig.
Linemen Isaiah Jacobsen, Tristan Holt and Henry Wolthius and defensive backs Tre Page and Braedon Cureton are all returners that the coaching staff expects large contributions from.
One of the biggest focuses for this season is to win the turnover battle. If the Grizzlies can do that, then it can be expected that this team will be right back in the title talk again this year.
Rocky Mountain will find out quite a bit about itself in week one, taking on rival Mountain View at home.