Head Coach: Tony Cade
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: 2 Years Head Coach at American Falls
1 Year Assistant at Hillcrest
8 Years Assistant at Blackfoot
5 Years Sandcreek South Grid Kid
Record Last Year: 2-7
State Titles: None
Jess Johnson, LB
Jason Rebollozo, RB
Dylan Corless, DC
Mark Olmos, DB
Jared Thompson, WR
Jonathan Valero, DL
Alex Ramos, RB/DB, 12
Ethan Gibbons, QB/DB, 11
Brayden Bowen, LB/FB, 12
Riley Stevens, RB/DB, 12
Franklyn Tilley, OL/DL, 11
Kody Condie, OL/DL/P, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Riley Stephens, 1st Team All-Conference FS
Brayden Bowen, 2nd Team All-Conference OLB and FB
Franklyn Tilley, 2nd Team All-Conference DL
Ethan Gibbons, Honorable Mention All-Conference QB
Key Players lost from last year:
4 of 5 OL starters
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #6 Ethan Gibbons
Incoming impact players:
Luis Gomez, RB/OLB, 11
Written By: Sven Alskog
It’s hard to find someone with more passion and enthusiasm for the game of football than second year Burley head coach Tony Cade has. That excitement is spreading into the locker room and into the community, as the Bobcats enter 2018 with hopes of garnering a winning record for the first time since going 5-4 in the 2013 season.
The challenge won’t be easy, but with junior southpaw quarterback Ethan Gibbons at the patrols, the hope is that the offensive end of the equation can get going after being held to 13 or fewer points in all but one game a year ago.
In the backfield to complement the aerial attack is a three-headed monster of Alex Ramos, Riley Stevens and fullback Brayden Bowen.
“We are a quick team and will be able to move quickly. With a young quarterback and a year under his belt we should be more comfortable offensively this season. We are versatile in what we do, and hope in year two the system has taken hold a bit more. We were able to put three teams together last year, which has not happened in Burley for many years. This allowed for more reps and experience, which hopefully translates,” said Cade.
He has some emphasis areas for improvement on the offensive end.
“Physicality and IQ. We have to be smarter in realizing situations and what needs to happen versus just running the play ‘as drawn’. We need to be more physical up front to establish a run game and be able to pass as well. We were down to our third string quarterback, who was actually a running back, last season after game four which caused us to stall. We hope to stay healthy this year and understand the offensive scheme a lot better.”
One of the big challenges for the Bobcats will be replacing four of five offensive line starters, however Kody Condie does return to provide some stability up front.
A common way to tell how a team may look in the trenches is to see how the group has performed in the weight room during the offseason. For Burley, the turnout has been impressive.
“I have been excited to see the team’s response from last season. They have tripled in the weight room attendance and summer workouts in recognition of being better. Although still light in numbers on the varsity level, we have more than doubled in the participation in the lower grades. The kids we have compete every day they are here, and this is a huge change from last season,” added Cade.
In a new-look Great Basin Conference featuring an east and a west pod, Burley will reside in the east with Minico, Pocatello, Preston and Century. The significance of this is not having to play a big and strong Twin Falls team at all in the regular season, meaning the Bobcats should be able to match up fairly well up front with most all of the teams they go up against this year despite the losses of four starters from a year ago.
On the defensive side of the ball Cade has brought in a quality coaching staff which should help continue to groom a unit that showed improvement as last season went on, including shutting out Filer in an 8-0 win on October 13.
“We have a great new defensive staff who brings excitement and energy to the defense. Should be a great new look once again if the kids have a quick learning curve,” said Cade.
Riley Stephens at free safety is a First Team All-Conference returner, while Franklyn Tilley earned Second Team All-Conference accolades on the defensive line and Bowen was a Second Team selection at linebacker.
That talent leads the returning pool on defense with plenty of spots up for grabs surrounding them, which should create a great level of competition in practice.
The second year coach acknowledges there are plenty of areas of emphasis for improvement.
“Compared to last year, all of it! Defense gave up too many points to win ball games and that’s where we hope to improve. The latter part of the year we started to see a mentality switch and kids flying to the ball. We hope this and a combination of understanding keeps us in games more. Our defense found themselves on the field a lot, and it was difficult as a head coach calling both sides of the ball after game four. We will be much improved,” added Cade.
A big factor in defensive growth will come in the mindset. How do the Bobcats respond when opponents break off a big play?
“E+R =Outcome. This is taken from Ohio State. Have to control your response to whatever event you’re in, good or bad. Only you can respond to produce your own outcome. We keep this motto once again, for the sure fact that this is true year in and year out. We call it the ‘R’ factor this year and have put more focus on the response to adverse situations,” said Cade.
He likes what this team has shown him so far in that regard in a practice setting.
“Many times last year it only took one situation in the game to tuck our tails and really give up. I don’t see that with this group, however that is a huge hurdle we are overcoming. The response to a bad situation. Do we run from it? Do we fear it? Or, can we embrace it and move on?”
The Bobcats begin the season with a matchup at home against Jerome on August 24 and a non-conference affair at Buhl on August 30.