Head Coach: Chad Hill
Years as Head Coach: 7th Season
Previous Experience: 11 Years as Assistant at South Fremont
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: None
Rod Coverley (DC)
Zach Goulding (OC)
Kyler Yancey, RB/WR/LB, 12
German Gonzalez, OL/DL, 12
Jordan Dodge, OL/DL, 12
Daylin Duncan, WR/DB, 12
Edwin Smith, OL/DL, 12
Jake Thueson, WR/DB, 12
Omar Morillon, OL/DL, 12
Kyle Orme, OL/DL, 12
Daemon Brown, WR/DB, 12
Talon Maupin, WR/DB, 11
Tristan Olson, RB/DL/LB, 11
Sawyer Hobbs, OL/DL, 11
Bryan Popocatl, OL/DL, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Kyler Yancey, All-Conference 1st Team LB 2nd Team WR
German Gonzalez, All-Conference 2nd Team OL and DL
Jordan Dodge, 1st Team All-Conference OL
Edwin Smith, HM All-Conference OL
Talon Maupin, All-Conference 2nd Team DB
Tristan Olson, HM All-Conference LB
Sawyer Hobbs, All-Conference 2nd Team OL and DL
Key Players lost from last year:
Reece Yancey, QB, 1st Team All-Conference QB. Great leader of offense.
Daniel Coverley, RB/DB. Team leader who set defense every play. Great energy and passion for the game. 1st team All-Conference RB and DB.
Steven Zundel, WR/DB, Big playmaker.
Incoming impact players:
Jace Neville, QB, 11
Braxton Garner, TE/LB, 11
Martin Gatica, WR/DB, 11
Jackson Coverley, RB/DB, 10
Dallin Orme, WR/DB, 10
Written By: Matt Harris
After starting out the 2017 season with a 4-2 record, including close losses to Gooding and Snake River, the South Fremont Cougars were in a good position to make a run towards the postseason as they entered conference play.
But three straight losses, including two blowout defeats at the hands of Shelley and Teton, ended their dream of a fourth consecutive playoff berth. The end was certainly something the players and coaches would like to forget, but will definitely learn a lot from. Despite the sour note that the 2017 season ended on, the players and coaches are looking very much forward to the potential the 2018 campaign brings.
“I’m excited about the difference in energy and enthusiasm that this group of players has,” said head coach Chad Hill. “We have some great leaders that love the game of football and bring a lot of passion with them to the field.”
Hill pointed to five players who will take on leadership roles this season: Kyler Yancey, German Gonzalez, Jordan Dodge, Jake Thueson, and Daylin Duncan – all of whom will also play major roles on the field this year.
Offensively, look for South Fremont to be strong on the line, with Gonzales manning the center position and the trio of Dodge, Bryan Popocatl, and Omar Morillon at the guards. Edwin Smith and Sawyer Hobbs will play significant roles at the tackle position. Kyle Orme will see time on the line as well.
Hill hopes that the returning experience on the line will aid in balancing their offense.
“We hope to be able to run the ball more consistently this season and with our returning linemen we think we should be able to this,” he said. “We hope to also be able to improve our quick passing game and getting the ball out quick and letting our playmakers make plays.”
Those playmakers include Yancey, Thueson, Duncan, and Talon Maupin, who may also see time at quarterback. Daemon Brown, Tristan Olson, Martin Gatica, Dallin Orme, and Jackson Coverley are also expected to make an impact. Braxton Garner will have a dual role of a pass catching and blocking tight end.
Maupin and Jace Neville will both take snaps at quarterback this season, which will allow South Fremont to have some flexibility in their play-calling.
“Both have great skill sets that will allow us to be very versatile on offense this year,” Hill said. South Fremont averaged 23.9 points per game last season.
Defensively, many of the same faces seen on offense will also standout on the opposite side of the ball. And, like the offense, the returning experience on the front lines will be a strength for the Cougars in 2018.
“We return three starters on the defensive line in Gonzalez, Dodge, and Hobbs and two starters at linebacker in Yancey and Olson,” Hill said. “We expect to be very strong in the box.”
Hill noted that their base 4-2-5 defense should allow the Cougars to be aligned quickly and be able to mix up their defensive looks while allowing their defense to play fast.
Smith, Morillon, Popocatl, and Kyle Orme will help provide depth on the defensive line. Garner will be leaned on to provide additional stability in the linebacking corps. The secondary will be led by Duncan and Thueson, with the quartet of Maupin, Gatica, Coverley, and Dallin Orme rounding out the defense.
Hill says that one of South Fremont’s keys to victory defensively is simply not allowing the opposing offense to have long, drawn out possessions.
“We hope to be better on third down and get the defense off the field,” he said. “We also hope to be able to create more turnovers this season. Our defensive backfield is young but we hope they can learn their roles quickly and be able to contribute to our team defense.”
South Fremont has plenty of talent to work with… but not a lot of numbers. With players playing on both offense and defense, injuries can potentially serve as a double-whammy to the team. Hill hopes that they won’t have to deal with many injuries over the course of the season.
“We’ve already had a couple of injuries this summer. Gonzalez will miss a couple week with a hernia, and Yancey and Maupin both have had shoulder injuries. We hope that we can recover and get healthy for the season,” he said.
A new addition to the coaching staff this season may aid in the players ability to withstand potential injuries. Justin Jicha, who previously spent time at Skyline High School in Idaho Falls, has joined the program and will benefit the team as its new strength and conditioning coach. Additional training of the players should help them resist injuries.
“Our nucleus of players put in a lot of time with Justin over the summer. He has been a great addition to our school,” said Hill.
The 2018 season features an 8-game schedule for South Fremont. It begins in earnest on Aug. 24 and the Cougars will make a cross-state trip to the two time defending 3A state champion Fruitland Grizzlies to open the season. It’s a game that Hill says stands out to him.
“They are a new opponent for us and we are excited for a chance to compete with them,” he said.
The Cougars will then host West Jefferson on Aug. 31 before taking a trip southward to Montpelier to face the Bear Lake Bears on Sept. 7. South Fremont then welcomes the Firth Cougars to Swensen Stadium on Sept. 14. Weeks 5 and 6 feature consecutive road trips to District 5 for the Cougars when they face Snake River and Marsh Valley.
Following a bye week, the ever important conference schedule begins. This season, each game becomes even more critical with Shelley having moved up to the 4A classification, meaning that there are fewer opportunities to get into position for the playoffs.
“Our conference is always tough and any team can be anyone on any given night, so you always have to be on your game,” said Hill.
If there is one advantage that South Fremont has this season, it’s that they will get to host both of their conference games. They face archrival Sugar-Salem on Oct. 12 before completing the regular season schedule against Teton on Oct. 18.
For many of the Cougar faithful, they hope that last season’s losing record was a blip or aberration in the upward trajectory that the program has taken in the seven years since Hill became the head coach. Hill says that the culture they have established and continue to work on is a building block for their success as a program.
“We want to be a team that plays hard all the time, to never let up no matter the situation, and to give the best effort that you can on and off the field,” he said. “We want to create an atmosphere where we have a love for each other and work for a common goal. We have already put in a lot of work together and we are going to go out and put it on the line every day and work hard for the guys next to us.”
Hill added that the acronym ‘GBED’, which stands for ‘Get Better Every Day’, is to help them focus on something specific that they want to work on each day. The goal is to improve in each game and create a love of the ‘grind’ of football – a love of the process in which teams get better.
South Fremont has plenty of potential and talent to be able to turn some heads in the 3A classification this season. Should they be able to find their groove in good time, the Cougars will be a tough out for anyone who comes across their path.