Photo By Kelly Magee - #11 Austin Perkins
Written By: Will Hoenike
After five years as the team’s defensive coordinator, Tyrone Hess will put on the main headset for the Filer Wildcats this fall as he takes on the head coaching role. And objective number one for Hess and his staff is to change things up for a program that hasn’t topped two wins in a season since 2010.
“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on change. Changing the way we lift, condition, practice. New offense and defense,” Hess said. “In order to establish a football culture at a school that has suffered through decades of futility in football, we are shaking things up.”
This fall’s group of Wildcats is thin on varsity experience, which Hess says may not necessarily be a bad thing.
“I’m excited to see who is going to step up and lead,” he said. “I don’t care what grade they’re in, what position they play, or how much experience they have. I’m looking for leaders. I’m anxious to see who is going to accept the challenge.”
Hess, like many coaches, believes success begins in the trenches so he’s looking for a breakthrough campaign from junior lineman Cooper Trease. Trease also competes in track and field, setting personal records in the shot put and discus throws last spring, demonstrating that he’s continuing to grow athletically.
“At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, Cooper Trease needs to be a force at nose guard,” Hess said.
Trease will be joined on the defensive side of the ball by senior linebacker Wylie Satterwhite, a player Hess says has embraced a leadership role for the Wildcats. Junior defensive back Austin Perkins also returns. Brogan Wells should see an increased role on the field this fall. Hess and his staff will be looking for a replacement for departed senior linebacker Bryer Monson, a physical presence and good tackler last fall for Filer.
Offensively, the Wildcats look to hand the keys to junior quarterback Logan Lockwood. Hess admits he’s putting a lot on Lockwood’s shoulders as the team looks for more consistency on offense. In Filer’s two wins last fall, the squad averaged 53 points. In its seven losses, that average dropped to just 14 points per game. Perkins (RB) and Satterwhite (RB) also figure to be key contributors on offense.
Of Filer’s nine games last season, only one (a week-three, six-point loss to American Falls) was decided by less than 30 points. A steadier offense will help alleviate that by scoring more consistently and taking pressure off the Wildcat defense.
Seven of Filer’s nine opponents this fall qualified for the playoffs in 2018, so the schedule figures to be challenging. On the flip side, however, is the fact that the Wildcats will play six of their nine games on their home field – including the first four - beginning with North Fremont on August 30.
The 3A SCIC has been ruled by Gooding and Kimberly in recent years and Filer faces those two squads in back-to-back weeks in early October.
Will this be the year that Filer punches through to the top of the SCIC? Hard to say. If Hess and his staff can develop the offensive and defensive lines like they hope to, that will help the team contend. If the energy and hunger Hess described takes root, that will also help the team contend. If the staff is able to put those two things together, the Wildcats could be a sleeper team in southern Idaho.