Head Coach: Pat Christopherson
Years as Head Coach: 1st Season
Previous Experience: 3 Years as Assistant at Timberline-Weippe
Record Last Year: 1-8
State Titles: 1969
Carter McCollum, 12
Andrew Anderson, 11
Chase Hunter, 10
Jordan Stewart, 10
Incoming impact players:
Jaron Christopherson, 9
Micha Nelson, 9
Hunter Bower, 9
Jason Mohl, 9
Written By: Will Hoenike
After a late coaching change at Timberline High School in Weippe, new head man Pat Christpherson had to get to work. To work building a program that has won one game over the past two seasons and building a team that can compete in the 1A Division 2 White Star League.
“My hope is these boys I have right now can change the culture here,” Christopherson said. “We have some big groups of kids coming up into high school the next few years and hopefully we can get the program back to where it needs to be. We have always had great community support.”
It wasn’t very long ago that the Spartans were among the top teams in the White Star. As recently as 2015, Timberline won six games and narrowly missed a berth in the 1A Division 2 state playoffs.
The 2018 Spartans will be led by sophomore Chase Hunter. The running back and linebacker is a key piece of Christopherson’s puzzle going forward.
“He is the hardest worker on the team and that naturally pushes others to ask more of themselves,” Christopherson said of Hunter. “In all of the years that I have coached Chase, I have never questioned if he is giving me everything.”
Hunter will be joined in the backfield by junior Andrew Anderson, who is also a gifted wrestler which gives him a supreme knowledge of leverage and winning individual battles.
That pair will line up alongside freshman quarterback Hunter Bower. Christopherson praised Bower’s arm strength and accuracy. Bower will be protected by hard-working sophomore Jordan Stewart along the front line as well as freshman Jaron Christopherson.
“He is not the quickest player out there but has an uncanny ability to put himself in the right place at the right time,” the elder Christopherson said of his young freshman.
Rounding out the pieces of the puzzle for the Spartans will be senior Carter McCollum, a returning starter along the Timberline offensive and defensive lines, along with freshman Micha Nelson and speedy freshman Jason Mohl. The two freshmen will fill roles in the Timberline secondary on defense and at tight end/wide receiver on offense. Nelson, in particular, was the leading rusher and receiver for Timberline’s junior high team before sustaining an injury last fall.
And that’s about it at this point. Christopherson hopes to add some arrows to the quiver, so to speak, over the course of the pre-season in terms of late roster additions but he is very pleased with the group he has to start with. Words like “tough,” “hard worker,” great attitude,” and “work ethic” flow freely from the first-year head coach when describing his players. It’s a group that will put in the work.
Progress in 2018 for the Spartans may not be based solely on wins and losses. The team improved over the course of the season last fall, scoring more points in the final two games of the campaign (62) than it did over the first six games (60). There are winnable games on the schedule for the Spartans, who open the season against an improved Mullan team on August 24, but staying healthy and getting stronger will be pivotal for Timberline.
The short-term needs (strength and depth) will likely dictate the final record in 2018. However, if they can do some of those little, cliché things – protect the football, find continuity and unity as a team, adapt to varsity-level game speed – it’s a program that will grow the right way and also one that has a bright future.