Head Coach: Dave Spillett
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 16 Years at Century
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: '89, '90, '92, '94, '06
Kobee Gunter, QB
Kyler Nichols, RB
Nathan Millward, OL
Jacob Rensch, OL
Ian Cooper, OL
Brian Jackson, LB
Jaden Downs, DB
Tyler Olsen, WR
Jaden Marley, TE
Nick McAdam, LB
Returning Players with Honors:
Kobee Gunter – All-Area Selection, All-Conference Selection
Key Players lost from last year:
Braxton Staples, RB/WR/LB
Brock Snow, WR/LB
Tristan Downs, DB
“We’ll miss their leadership and big play ability on both sides of the ball.” – Coach Spillett
Photo By: Kelly Magee - #1 Kobee Gunter
Incoming impact players:
Kyler Nichols, RB, 12
Brian Jackson, LB, 12
Written By: Matt Harris
That’s how long the current playoff drought has lasted for the Pocatello Indians. But it’s a statistic they believe they can erase this season.
“This team fears nothing and they have a strong belief for the things that they can accomplish,” said head coach Dave Spillett, now in his fourth season at his alma mater. “I’ve been very pleased with the way they take the field with confidence and swagger.”
That confidence and swagger, along with some good fortune in the health department, could give Pocatello the dark-horse status this season. Injuries and untimely events have not helped the Indians’ cause in recent seasons, but they hope they can overcome that and return to the postseason this year.
“Health is always the biggest factor for us, so building our depth will be key for us and using that next man up mentality,” Spillett said.
The Indians enter into a new phase this season with their move to the new Great Basin Conference, a combination of 4A schools in Districts 5 and 6. The new conference will create new opportunities for all involved.
“It will be great for us with each game having high implications. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities of the new conference,” said Spillett.
Having Kobee Gunter lead the way at quarterback for another season is certainly a plus for the Indians. The all-conference performer will be looked to for leadership and stability on offense. He’ll be joined by running back Kyler Nichols, with wide receiver Tyler Olsen and tight end Jaden Marley also being targets in the passing game.
Spillett believes that the players on his squad should allow them be more balanced.
“We should have a strong run game this year due to some depth at our offensive line position, quality running backs, and [Gunter] as a dual threat quarterback,” he said, adding that improvement in the rushing attack would be key to their success. “Kyler dealt with injuries last year but, when healthy, can be a top player in the state.”
Pocatello brings back the trio of Nathan Millward, Jacob Rensch, and Ian Cooper on an experience offensive line that will have a major impact on the destiny of the offense.
Defensively, the Indians seek to improve on their 30.8 points against per game average from last season. They will look to Brian Jackson and Nick McAdam to lead the way from the linebacking corps, along with Jaden Downs anchoring the secondary. Spillett said that injuries had robbed Jackson of his health last season but that he could be a top player in the state at his position should he remain healthy.
Pocatello plans to run an aggressive 4-3 base defense mixing in different coverages and blitz packages. Spillett added that he hopes that their red zone and fourth down defense can improve this season.
The Indians kick off the 2018 on the road on Aug. 24 when they face the Twin Falls Bruins. They then play four straight games at Holt Arena, including Mountain Home on Aug. 30, cross-town rival Century on Sept. 7, “Black-n-Blue Bowl” rival Highland on Sept. 14, and Shelley on Sept. 21.
Pocatello will then hit the road for three consecutive weeks when they face Canyon Ridge in Twin Falls on Sept. 28, Minico in Rupert on Oct. 5, and finally Preston on Oct. 12. They wrap up the regular season schedule at Holt Arena on Oct. 19 against Burley.
Spillett said that he has a lot of pride in his program and that he gets to do what he does at his alma mater.
“It’s great, being able to coach at the school I played at is truly an honor,” he said. “Being part of a school with such great traditions and rich history is truly special. I love being part of the group that is bringing Pocatello High back to where it should be. We’re blessed with great students and great support from the community. The phrase “Poky Pride Never Dies” is so real and so true. When you become part of the Poky family it’s a lifelong commitment of pride, belonging, and tradition. We’re all living the legacy of being a Pocatello Indian.”