Head Coach: Rich Hargitt
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 19 years
Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina HS level
Record Last Year: 6-4
State Titles: 2015
Chris Roeper (DC)
David Furst (Special Teams/DL)
Clark Fear (DB)
Tyler Smith (LB)
Preston Simpson (OL)
Spencer Young (WR)
Zach Hall (Frosh.)
Brian Long (Frosh.)
Mike Hagadone (Frosh.)
Dylan Bemis, QB, 12
Brett Kern, WR, 12
Trayton Lenz, RB/DB, 12
Hunter Higginbotham, OL, 12
Andrew Lourenco, DL, 12
Kimball Helms, DB, 12
Caden Adams, DB, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Brett Kern, Honorable Mention All-SIC TE
Key Players lost from last year:
Spencer Keene, 4A SIC Defensive Player of the Year
Michael Walker, 1st Team All-SIC RB/LB
DJ Crump, 1st Team All-SIC WR/DB, 2nd Team All-SIC Returner
Taylor Fletcher, 1st Team All-SIC OL/DL, Honorable Mention Punter
Coby Yates, 2nd Team All-SIC OL
Hunter Doyle, 2nd Team All-SIC DL
Jake Whittemore, Honorable Mention All-SIC RB
Parker Grover, Honorable Mention All-SIC OL
Cameron Simmons, Honorable Mention All-SIC OL
Ramiro Alvizo, Honorable Mention All-SIC K
Jayden Smith, Honorable Mention All-SIC DB
Photo By: Loren Orr - #4 Dylan Bemis
Incoming impact players:
Axel Sanchez, LB, 10
Koa Harriet, LB, 11
Written By: Sven Alskog
Following a playoff trip a year ago, things will look much different this time around for the Emmett Huskies.
Interim head coach Zane Hines helped lead the team last year through a season which saw a coaching change announced publicly just one day prior to the season starting. The Huskies responded as well as could be expected despite a string of injuries, winning six games and earning a trip to the playoffs.
In their four losses, Emmett fell by an average of just over five points per game, with the team never out of a game at any point throughout the season.
From that roster a year ago, 11 players who earned All-SIC or Honorable Mention All-SIC honors have graduated, leaving a youthful look for a program that has had a tendency to reload more so than rebuild in recent history.
There are inherent challenges that come with being the second smallest 4A school in the state of Idaho for new head coach Rich Hargitt.
When the group lines up against conference foes such as Middleton and Bishop Kelly there will not be much mystery that the Huskies are outnumbered and outsized, however the grit and work ethic of this bunch has the coach excited for what they could accomplish even with some of those facts.
“We know we are going to be outnumbered and we know we’re smaller, so those are things we can’t change. What I talk to the kids about all the time is that we can change our work ethic, we can change our effort, we can change our accountability and we can change how many penalties we have or how many turnovers we have. Those are things that we can affect. The kids have bought in to that,” said Hargitt.
As can be expected with a new head man on the sideline, there will be some major changes on each side of the ball and within the coaching staff itself.
Perhaps the most noticeable change will come on the offensive side of the ball, where Hargitt will implement his run-pass option attack out of the spread wing-t formation. It won’t be a similar look to previous years for Emmett in the least, but with senior quarterback Dylan Bemis returning there is some continuity at the position of premier importance in the new offensive style.
“What we do offensively is going to go as far as the quarterback takes us. If Dylan has a good year, then we are going to have a good year. If Dylan struggles, we’re not. And I told him that the first day I met him. There’s no secrets there. I said the head coach (who happens to be the play caller) and the starting quarterback are going to get a lot of the reward or a lot of the blame. That’s just the way it is in this style of offense,” said Hargitt.
Since beginning to work with Bemis in June, Hargitt has seen great growth from his signal-caller. He also likes the ability to stretch the field that Bemis allows for with what he calls a “cannon” for an arm.
Look for big target Brett Kern to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, as the 6-foot-6-inch former tight end moves out to wide receiver.
How quickly the offensive line comes together will have a big impact on how the transition goes early in the season. Hunter Higginbotham is a senior returner on the front who should help provide upperclassman leadership to the younger guys.
Regardless of who is up front, don’t expect the Huskies to lose the physicality that has made the program what it is over the years.
“The knee-jerk reaction everybody has when they talk about switching from what Emmett did to what we are now going to be is that everybody thinks we will lose our physicality. I just don’t think that’s the case. We spend a lot of time stressing physicality,” expressed Hargitt.
Much less changes stylistically on defense, as multiple JV defensive coaches have been promoted to the varsity level for this season.
Caden Adams, Kimball Helms and Trayton Lenz lead the way for the Huskies in the secondary, with a young and talented group of linebackers in front of them that will try to force the issue for opposing offenses.
“When you play a lot of young players on defense I think it is a lot easier for them to be aggressive than it is to ask them to be complicated, so that’s what I think we are going to have to do. We’re going to have to bring some pressure and really light those kids’ fire to have them grow up,” added Hargitt.
With quick maturity, he thinks the defense could surprise some people with what they are able to do.
“If the defense grows up quickly, then I think we are going to be pretty decent there. I think the defense should be ahead of the offense to be quite honest, and in most programs it is, especially this time of year. But for us it’s just an age game there. We’ve got kids that can’t drive to practice that are going to be starting on defense and that’s going to be really, really important is how quickly do those cats mature?”
Sophomore Axel Sanchez and junior Koalii Harriet are two newcomers who will be relied on heavily in the middle of the defense. Each player has been in the weight room consistently in the offseason trying to get bigger and stronger for what will be their first shot at varsity action.
The duo has been joined by plenty of fellow teammates in the weight room this offseason, as Emmett implemented a 90 percent attendance policy in the offseason where players who volunteered their time for 90 percent or more of the offseason workouts were rewarded. Hargitt says most of the kids on defense made that threshold and that the group is very dedicated.
While young, he likes the unit he has in place.
“That’s the name of the game on defense. It’s youth. The great thing is, we are going to have a ton of the front seven coming back next year. We’ll get hit by graduation next year in the secondary, but we’re going to have a lot of dudes back in that front seven, so we’ll flip the script next year. It’ll be a young secondary that we’ll have to be breaking in. You’re always young somewhere,” he added.
A tough schedule lies ahead for the Huskies, starting immediately in week one against a Columbia team that drops down from 5A this season. Emmett then plays at home against Middleton before back-to-back tough road affairs at Vallivue and Bishop Kelly.
In order to be successful, being scrappy will have to be a priority.
“We’re going to be biting a lot of ankles it looks like, but we are just going to do the best we can to just hang in these games and be competitive and see if we can get them to the fourth quarter and pull of some upsets because to be honest I think just about every Friday night is going to be an upset if we can pull it. That’s the mentality we have got to have is we just have to go out and try and find a way to win. We’re going to not be favored in a lot of the games where we walk out on to the field, but that’s ok. That adds fuel to the fire for our kids too,” said Hargitt.
“I know the schedule is tough, but we’re going to throw it against the wall and see what sticks. We’re going to give it our best shot every Friday.”
The first chance to see the new-look Huskies in action on IdahoSports.com will come in week two against Middleton.