Head Coach: Juan Colunga
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Previous Experience: 12 Years at Marsh Valley, Rimrock, Columbia,
West Jefferson and Wilder
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: 1991 and 2002
Hank Svedin, LB/OL, 12
Easton Bunnell, LB/FB, 12
Tyler Roberts, CB/RB, 12
Brock Lueddeke, DE/TE, 12
Tristan Jones, DL/WR, 12
Scotty Martinez, LB/RB, 12
Joey Bradshaw, S/RB, 11
Cameron Wood, CB/WR, 11
Donovaun Rose, DL/OL, 11
Braulio Colunga, DL/OL, 11
Zane Helm, S/RB, 11
Returning Players with Honors:
Easton Bunnell, First Team All-WIC LB/FB
Brock Lueddeke, First Team All-WIC TE,
Second Team DE
Hank Svedin, First Team All-WIC OL
Scotty Martinez, Second Team All-WIC RB
Tristan Jones, Second Team All-WIC DL
Tyler Roberts, HM All-WIC CB
Zane Helm, HM All-WIC S
Key Players lost from last year:
"Dallin Forsgren, QB/CB – He was one of the two
unquestioned leaders on the team. Calm, cool
and collected, always led by example and was
a two year starter as quarterback, ran the
wing-t offense to perfection. Was even better
on defense, earning First Team WIC and Second
Team All-State as a Cornerback. Leadership and
toughness will be missed tremendously," Coach
"Zayne Dayley, WR/S – Was the vocal and emotional
leader as well as the team hype man. Zayne was
hardworking, tough and always ready to go with
high energy and emotion. Great blocker for our
run-first offense but ran great routes along
with great hands, which helped him earn Second
Team WIC Wide Receiver. Zayne excelled on defense
and was a First Team WIC Safety that will be missed
on both sides of the ball," Coach Colunga.
Photo By: Patty Theurer - #1 Scotty Martinez
Incoming impact players:
Henry Clark – QB/DE, 11 – Did not play last year but was a Second Team WIC TE as a freshman and started every game on defense – Size, strength and athleticism will help immediately.
Kyler Oakes – RB/LB – 10 – One of the best athletes on the team, loves football and has a tremendous motor.
William Vail – DL/OL – 10 – Getting bigger and stronger, should help immediately. Played the last three games as varsity tackle.
David Cossel – DL/OL – 10 – Has gained size and strength throughout the spring and summer. Should step in and help on both sides of the ball.
Cody Dickard – OL – 9 – An injury to another player allowed Cody the opportunity to play as the varsity center at the Southern Idaho Football Camp this summer. Held his own versus the likes of Bishop Kelly, Century, Hillcrest (Utah), Wood River and Weiser varsity defenses.
Teagan Hill – DL/OL – 12 – Big, strong kid that can step in right away and contribute if he can get the playbook and learn the Mustang way.
Trace Stimpson – LB/FB – 10 – Trace is a strong, stout player that will see the field a lot as fullback and linebacker.
Written By: Sven Alskog
The first two years at Melba for Juan Colunga were building years. After a 4-5 mark in 2018, it appears that the new season has the potential to bring more wins to the table and potentially a long run in the state playoffs.
“It’s basically the same team other than our two senior leaders that graduated. The work ethic of core players has been there all summer and has eliminated bad habits and players who were not bought in or who thought they’d get a starting position given to them,” said Colunga. “This team is hungry and ready to take the next step from last year’s painful finish where we lost to conference runner up McCall-Donnelly on a tipped two-point conversion, but then went on to beat eventual champion New Plymouth on their senior night. That’s how close this team is [to] being good to elite.”
While the Mustangs will have to replace starting quarterback Dallin Forsgren and one of his go-to targets in Zayne Dayley, the core group of players that does return around new quarterback Henry Clark, who appears to be one of the favorites to start, should help lessen the load on the new signal caller.
“Finding a quarterback to replace Dallin Forsgren will be a challenge, as well as replacing Zayne Dayley at wide receiver, but we return plenty of skill players to ease the load off the new quarterback. Scotty Martinez and Easton Bunnell return as the two leading rushers. Tight end Brock Lueddeke and offensive lineman Hank Svedin will be three-year starters and anchor the offensive line. Tyler Roberts and Tristan Jones are also returning seniors who have started for at least two years on both sides of the ball and will be leaders in 2019,” said Colunga.
A strong group of juniors also has the coach excited on the offensive side of the ball.
“Some promising juniors are also looking to step in and help with what should be the best offensive output in three years at Melba. Juniors like Joey Bradshaw and Henry Clark have spent all spring and summer going to practices, camps and 7-on-7’s competing for starting positions and playing time. Cameron Wood has taken major strides in trying to replace team leader Zayne Dayley at receiver. We will have upperclassmen, which is a huge change from the really young teams we have put on the field the last two years. These seniors and juniors are excited about the season and it’s easy to see why during camp and lifting sessions. They feel a special season coming. The first in a long time.”
Another big reason behind the rising optimism in Melba is the return of the same coaching staff for the third straight season. That seems to be a growing rarity at the high school ranks, so expect the payoff to be noticeable for the Mustangs this year.
For the defensive side of the ball to be successful, experiencing good health will be a critical factor.
“Staying healthy and eligible will lead to defensive success this year, along with improving pass coverage. We return three starters on the defensive line, including two Second Team All-Conference selections in Brock Lueddeke and Tristan Jones, as well as some young depth behind them with William Vail and David Cossel,” stated Colunga.
He likes the middle and back ends of the defense as well.
“Linebackers should be a team strength, as First Team All-Conference selection Easton Bunnell returns for his third year as a varsity starter. Hank Svedin started every game at middle linebacker last year and provides toughness and leadership. Scotty Martinez and Joey Bradshaw spent the season alternating at the other outside linebacker spot and this year will be the same, as both are very athletically gifted. Senior corner Tyler Roberts and junior Honorable Mention All-Conference safety Zane Helm return for their second year as varsity starters and will help mentor replacements for First Team All-Conference performers Dallin Forsgren and Zayne Dayley.”
The coach wanted to highlight newcomers such as Clark, Cossel, Kyler Oakes, William Vail, Cody Dickard, Teagan Hill and Trace Stimpson as talent that has shown significant growth from a year ago. Hank Svedin, Brock Lueddeke, Tyler Roberts and Tristan Jones have also seen major improvement as they enter their senior seasons.
“They are all due to receive our Men of Summer award. This is given to players that attend spring ball, summer camp and 80 percent of summer weights sessions. All have improved significantly as far as strength, size and speed, but most importantly, learned to work hard, work together and to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. They will be better players, students-athletes and community leaders because of it. Not everybody can or wants to get up early and work hard, so these Men of Summer deserve to be praised and rewarded because of it. Our motto at Melba since I’ve been here has been, ‘Those who stay will be Champions’.”
With so much returning from last year and consistency among the coaching staff, the expectations are higher than in recent memory for the varsity program to experience success on the field.
“The most exciting par about this year’s team is that we have core players who are entering their third year running the wing-t and our base defense. They have experienced some hard times as freshman and sophomores and now they get to take the next step forward and make a deep postseason run,” said Colunga.
Melba takes the field for the first time on August 31 against the West Jefferson Panthers at home.