Head Coach: T.T. Cain
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 8 Years as Assistant at Challis
Record Last Year: 8-3
State Titles: 1976
Ross Sheppeard, QB/DE, 12
Blaine Ammar, NG/G, 12
Mitch Cotant, RB/Rover, 12
Cooper Erickson, LB/G/RB, 12
Rowdy Piva, WR/DB, 12
Parker May, WR/DB, 12
Bruin Bradshaw, G/LB, 11
William Ashley, RB/DB, 12
Austin Andersen, DE/G, 11
Chris Arrizubieta, DB/QB/WR, 10
Returning Players with Honors:
Ross Sheppeard - 2nd Team All-Conference QB/DL
Blaine Ammar - 1st Team All-Conference NG/OL, 2nd Team All-State OL/NG
Mitchell Cotant - 1st Team All-Conference DB, Honorable Mention RB, 1st tTeam All-State DB
Cooper Erickson - Honorable Mention OL
Rowdy Piva - Honorable Mention WR
Key Players lost from last year:
Pete Bradshaw, RB/LB – 1st Team All-State RB/LB, 1st Team All-Conference RB/LB
Vetle Ravn – All-State K
“Without a doubt that would be Pete Bradshaw. Pete is a great athlete, team leader, and most importantly all heart – a tangible that just can’t be coached. Vetle was an exchange student who was an All-State kicker and a key in our success on special teams – he could kick the ball anywhere.” – Coach Cain
Photo By: Steve Conner - #5 Mitch Cotant
Written By: Matt Harris
“Started from the bottom, now we’re here.”
Like Drake, the artist who rapped that particular lyric, the Challis Vikings hit rock bottom back in 2015, posting a winless 0-9 record. In 2016, their record improved to 4-5. Last season, everything really came together as they won 8 games, earned a playoff berth, and reached the state semifinals.
The Vikings are looking forward to what potentially lies ahead, but are certainly grateful for the journey they’ve made too.
“As a coach it meant more to see the team overcome adversity and understand what it truly means to play as a team,” said head coach T.T. Cain. “It wasn’t so much about getting there but how they got there – by playing with heart and grit, overcoming adversity, knowing their identity, and learning to win as a team – that’s what it meant to me and my staff. This was a great statement for the program more so by improving day by day and season by season, building self and team confidence, and knowing that there is a process to meet goals and play as one. That said, we also know that we can’t hang our hat on last season. The goal is to move forward and improve.”
Cain is now in his fourth season as the head coach in Challis and he says that he is very much looking forward to seeing what this year’s senior class can accomplish – after all, that class were freshman in Cain’s first season.
“Our senior group being leaders for the underclassmen will dove tail into team chemistry and team synergy,” Cain said. “It will be exciting to see these kids play out their senior year together.”
Back in the fold this year will be quarterback Ross Sheppeard and he should have plenty of help on offense, including running backs Mitch Cotant, Cooper Erickson, and William Ashley, along with receivers Rowdy Piva, Chris Arrizubieta, and Parker May. Bruin Bradshaw, Blaine Ammar, and Austin Andersen will anchor the line.
Familiarity at each position will benefit the Vikings from the get-go.
“We are comfortable with our offensive scheme,” said Cain. “Basically, the senior group is in their third season running our offense and we feel that we are at the point of having our players just execute at all positions without overthinking.”
Cain said that Sheppeard has a great grasp of the offense and that Erickson will move throughout different positions in the offense as a utility player. He added that he hopes to add to the strength of the run game by complementing it in the pass game.
“We definitely look to improve our passing game, both in production and pass block protection,” he said.
Like the offense, familiarity within schemes on defense will aid Challis right off the bat.
“We feel our strength is gap control and knowing the job of each individual position,” said Cain. “We know that all eight of us have to execute and be fundamentally sound to succeed.”
Sheppeard will play at defensive end but will see time at linebacker as well. Ammar will serve as the nose guard and should impress once again this year. Erickson will help anchor the linebacking corps along with Bradshaw. Cotant leads the way in the secondary along with May, Piva, and Ashley.
Cain says a point of emphasis for the Vikings has been working to improve their pass defense, both in fundamentals and discipline.
“We were hit on big plays in this area last season with a lack of discipline,” he said. “Our pass game and pass defense overall will be a key to our success this season.”
Challis begins the 2018 season at home on Aug. 24 when they face the Mackay Miners. They then “hit the road” for four games in five weeks and won’t play again in Challis until October. The Vikings play at North Gem on Aug. 31 before opening up conference play in the Snake River Conference on Sept. 7 at Grace.
The Vikings make the long journey to Oakley on Sept. 14 before again visiting District 4 with a trip to Malta to take on Raft River on Sept. 21. Following a bye week, Challis will end the season with three home games – Glenns Ferry on Oct. 5, Valley on Oct. 19, and Butte County on Oct. 26.
“Our conference has excellent coaches and have their teams prepared year-in and year-out and always are in contention for the conference title and state title,” Cain said. “We are looking forward to kick off.”