Head Coach: Jared Young
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 2 Years as Defensive Coordinator at Wallace
2 Years as Defensive Coordinator at Power Valley (OR)
Record Last Year: 3-6
State Titles: None
Erik Brackebusch, QB, 12
Tommy Schiller, WR/LB, 12
Triston Neubauer, RB/LB, 12
Dylan Gunderson, G, 12
Myles Hayman, C/DT, 12
Logan Hull, WR/LB, 11
Gary Gunderson, G, 11
Carter Bailey, WR/DB, 10
Kody Richardson, TE/LB, 10
Colton Pentland, G/DE, 10
Alex Field, TE/LB, 10
Returning Players with Honors:
Erik Brackebusch, 2nd Team All-League
Carter Bailey, Honorable Mention All-League
Key Players lost from last year:
Layton Gallagher, RB/LB
Jaden Dimitroff, RB/LB
Matt Farkas, WR/DB
Zayne Hunter, TE/LB
Photo By: Clayton Bunt - #14 Erik Brackebusch
Incoming impact players:
Colton Holzheu, DL/TE, 12 (Lake City transfer)
Written By: Will Hoenike
In 2017, quarterback Erik Brackebusch’s supporting cast was experienced and talented. Running backs Jaden Dimitroff and Layton Gallagher, receiver Matt Farkas, tight end Zayne Hunter.
Brackebusch is back in 2018, but those four players are gone. So the senior signal-caller will look to some fresh faces to make plays for the Wallace Miners this fall. And head coach Jared Young likes the group of fresh faces.
“We will have a good passing game and a leader at quarterback with an arm that can make all the throws, a true passer,” Young noted. “And a good group of wide receivers that should give us an edge when we need it.”
Moving to the forefront among those receivers is sophomore Carter Bailey. The 5-foot-11 pass-catcher earned honorable-mention All-White Pine League honors as a freshman opposite of Farkas and should become one of the top targets when Brackenbusch drops back to pass. Junior Logan Hull, who stands 6-foot-1, and senior Tommy Schiller will also figure into the receiver rotation for the Miners.
Senior Triston Neubauer, who sat out last season, is first in line to get carries in the backfield when Wallace goes to its ground game. The shoes to fill are big, Gallagher was a strong all-around player and Dimitroff is continuing his academic and football career at the college level with NCAA Division 3 Willamette University in Oregon.
A group that Young mentioned that has made big strides over the offseason and early days of camp is the team’s offensive line. It lacks game-time snaps as a group but, according to Young, has begun to gel and grow as a unit, which will help the offensive production overall. Center Myles Hayman and guard Dylan Gunderson, both seniors, along with junior guard Gary Gunderson and sophomore Colton Pentland will compete for playing time once the season kicks off on August 24 at Lakeside.
Defensively, Young expects growth from a group that was decimated by injuries in 2017. After a strong start to the season, the Miners failed to hold an opponent under 40 points during their season-ending, six-game losing streak. Health was a big part of the problem, not necessarily talent level.
Schiller and Neubauer will compete with Hull and sophomores Kody Richardson and Alex Field at the linebacker position for Wallace this fall, behind a defensive line that figures to include Hayman, Pentland and senior Colton Holzheu, a transfer from Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene.
“We aim to be an attacking-style defense that puts pressure on the opposing quarterback and will try to disrupt the other team’s rhythm,” Young said. “Mainly a 3-4 style defense with other looks to make offensive lines think when they play us.”
Gaining confidence early could be key for the Miners this fall. After the opener at Lakeside, the team faces a key, early-season contest at Clearwater Valley. After that, a stretch of winnable games against opponents who, like Wallace, will be looking to create positive momentum: Kootenai, Potlatch, Kamiah and Troy.
That confidence and momentum is important for Wallace because they close the season against as rugged of a three-game stretch as, arguably, any 8-man football team in the state of Idaho. The Miners close with games against Lapwai, Genesee and Prairie – likely teams they could be fighting for playoff positioning against.
Wallace’s fate is squarely in its own hands in 2018. Young and his staff are optimistic about the team. If the Miners can stay healthy and if the team continues to improve in the trenches, they could be in the hunt for a postseason spot when late October rolls around.