Head Coach: Roy Albertson
Years as Head Coach: 16th Season
Previous Experience: Chewelah (WA)
Record Last Year: 1-8
State Titles: None
Joey Follini, QB/S, 11
Jeremy McLemore, RB/LB, 11
Chase Gardom, RB/DB, 12
Jacob James, RB/LB, 11
Louis Powell, RB/DB, 11
JT Wilfong, RB/DB, 12
Josh Yanez, TE/LB, 11
Ben Schrader, OL/DL, 12
Skyler Allen, OL/DL, 12
CJ Cady, OL/DL, 12
Hunter Ranney, C/DT, 12
Dylan Kluss, WR/DB, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Ben Schrader, 1st Team All-IML OL
Jeremy McLemore, 1st Team All-IML LB
Photo By: Jason Duchow - #45 Jeremy McLemore
Written By: Will Hoenike
The Timberlake Tigers enter the 2018 season in unfamiliar territory but, most importantly, they have their general back.
Coming off a 1-8 campaign, Timberlake will be looking to recapture the flag, so to speak, after the team’s string of 13 consecutive Intermountain League titles was snapped last fall. It was a trying campaign for a community very used to dominating the IML but nothing was more trying for the community than the late-September heart attack of longtime head coach Roy Albertson. After taking the remainder of the season off to recover, Albertson returns for his 16th season on the Timberlake sideline and the team would certainly like to honor its coach by regaining the league championship.
The Tigers return a wealth of experience. Timberlake started 12 sophomores among its regular 22 starters last season which, obviously, means that the Tigers come into this season with a great mix of youth and game experience. That should serve the team well when the season kicks off on August 25, across state lines in Frenchtown, Montana.
Leading the way on offense for Timberlake is senior offensive lineman Ben Schrader, who was voted first-team All-Intermountain League last fall as a junior. He’ll be protecting second-team All-IML quarterback Joey Follini, who returns for his junior season, as does second-team All-IML running back Jeremy McLemore. McLemore rushed for 124 yards and accounted for all three touchdowns for Timberlake in its game against Lakeland last September, just days after Albertson’s heart attack.
Schrader will be joined up front for Timberlake by seniors Skyler Allen and CJ Cady as well as center Hunter Ranney.
As you’d expect with a team that was starting so many inexperienced players last fall, the Timberlake offense got better as the season went on. The team scored over half of its total points (72 of 142) in its final three games, including a road win at Bonners Ferry. Albertson would like to see the team take a step forward with its passing attack to open up even more running lanes for McLemore and the other running backs on the team.
The additional year of growth and experience will also serve the Tigers well on the defensive side of the ball. Timberlake struggled defensively last season, allowing an average of nearly 38 points per game. There is talent returning, including MacLemore (All-IML linebacker), junior Josh Yanez (second-team All-IML linebacker), junior Louis Powell (second-team All-IML defensive back) and senior Chase Gardom (second-team All-IML defensive back). Albertson wants to see his defense get off the field quicker in 2018 and let his offense go to work on tired defenses.
The unfamiliarity in being the hunter instead of the hunted this fall leads to a very compelling race in the four-team Intermountain League. Kellogg returns as the defending IML champ and also returns IML defensive player of the year Justin Lehto. Priest River has a new head coach in Justin Torfin and Bonners Ferry has a young, athletic group of players taking the field this fall. Timberlake draws a tough assignment, schedule-wise, with two of its three league games on the road this season (at Kellogg, at Priest River).
The margin between the four teams appears small. There is youth and there is talent across the board. The IML door is open, now we see who charges through.