Head Coach: Scott Berger
Years as Head Coach: 10th Season
Previous Experience: 28 Years at Skyline
3 Years at University of New Mexico
3 Years at Pocatello
1 Year at Highland
Record Last Year: 10-2
State Titles: '85, '86, '89, '92, '16, '17
Joel Cortez, DL, 12
Nick Layland, LB, 12
Easton Taylor, QB, 12
Schooter Collins, DL, 12
Chayse Kidd, DB, 12
Parker Reynolds, OL, 12
Brayden Jensen, LB, 12
Cruz Taylor, WR, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Joel Cortez – 1st Team All-State DL
Schooter Collins – 2nd Team All-Conference DL
Key Players lost from last year:
Kyler Morgan, RB
Daniel Helsley, OL
Dylan Kaasa, OL
Carter Josephson, LB
Jaden Landes, DB
Caleb Mayes, WR
Marley Garcia, OL
Daniel Webb, LB
Photo By: Steve Conner - #83 Cruz Taylor
Incoming impact players:
Eli Ames, WR/DB, 10
Conner Maloney, WR, 10
Written By: Matt Harris
Winning a state football title is hard. Repeating that feat is much more difficult. How would a chance at a “3-peat” be classified?
Whatever word or term is chosen to describe it, the Skyline Grizzlies will be facing it in 2018. The proverbial target that was on their back courtesy of their 2016 state championship victory grew exponentially with last season’s repeat title. However, head coach Scott Berger said neither he nor his team are worried too much about that target.
“We have a lot of expectations, but this team will be different from the previous two years,” he said. “As a program we believe in taking care of what is in our control. We will continue to take care of ourselves.”
Berger, now in his 10th season as head coach and 28th year overall at Skyline, remarked that each year brings on new expectations and anticipation. He looks forward to each new season and the challenges that is presents.
This season, the Grizzlies will lose a number of key players who played major roles in their last two state championships, including Kyler Morgan, Daniel Helsley, Dylan Kaasa, Marley Garcia, Caleb Mayes, Danny Webb, Jaden Landes, and Carter Josephson.
“They were all first team or second team All-State performers who started and played a lot of football games for us,” Berger said.
Those vacancies will create opportunities for another wave of Grizzlies who hope to continue carrying the torch and living up to the standard that has been set.
Easton Taylor, who saw duty as backup quarterback last season, will take the reigns of Skyline’s spread offense. He will have plenty of talent to work with, including receivers Cruz Taylor, Eli Ames, and Conner Maloney. Ames is the younger brother of former Skyline standout David Ames III. Parker Reynolds returns to lead the offensive line.
“We are going to be able to spread the ball out around the field. We have multiple weapons,” said Berger, who noted that they hope to improve on their deep passing game.
The defensive side of the ball is where the majority of returning players are found. Joel Cortez and Schooter Collins will anchor the defensive line, while the duo of Nick Layland and Brayden Jensen will lead the linebacking corps. Chayse Kidd will be leaned on for leadership in the secondary.
Berger pointed to the front seven as the strength of his defense this year and that team speed would be a factor across the board. He hopes that speed will aid their efforts to create more takeaways this season.
In 2018, the path to the state title changes slightly for the Grizz as they form a new conference with their other 4A District 6 counterparts. They join Idaho Falls and Blackfoot along with newcomers Bonneville, Hillcrest, and Shelley in the new six-team conference. And outside of their first game of the season in the Rocky Mountain Rumble, Skyline will not have to leave District 6 for any of their regular season games.
Week 1 features an interesting matchup as the Grizzlies face the Skyline Eagles out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They then travel across Idaho Falls to the foothills to face the new kid on the block, Thunder Ridge, to play in what will be the Titans first ever home football contest.
Skyline then opens their conference schedule with their first true home game when they host the Shelley Russets on Sept. 7. A quick jaunt down I-15 awaits the Grizz in Week 4 when they travel to face Blackfoot. Then, on Sept. 22, their rivalry takes center stage when Skyline takes on Idaho Falls in the 54th Emotion Bowl at Ravsten Stadium.
“That game is huge for our community,” said Berger. “It has the feel and atmosphere of a college game”. The Emotion Bowl will be streamed live on IdahoSports.com.
Following the rivalry matchup, Skyline will make the quick trip across town to Thunder Stadium to face the Hillcrest Knights on Sept. 28, before hosting Rigby in a non-conference tilt on Oct. 5. The Grizzlies end their conference slate on the road at Bonneville on Oct. 12 and then wrap up the regular season on Oct. 19 at home against Madison.
Can Skyline pull off the “3-peat” this season? Health will play a major role in that potential outcome, but should they stay healthy, there should be no reason for anyone to count them out of the running.