Fruitland High School
Conference: 3A Snake River Valley Conference
Head Coach: Ryan Tracy
Years as Head Coach: 3rd Season
Record Last Year: 9-3
State Titles: 1993, 2006, 2010
#35 Garrett Tipton RB/OLB
Photo By: Steve Conner - #35 Garrett Tipton
“Key Players” lost from last year:
#2 Jerred Seamons QB/S
Incoming “impact” players:
Luke Thomas-DT/TE/T 12
Written by: Chris Langrill
Fruitland High is routinely one of the top football teams in its classification.
And with state championships won in 2006 and 2010, a certain standard has been set for the Grizzlies.
“When you put the pads on at Fruitland, the goal is to win every game and a state championship,” third-year coach Ryan Tracy said. “That's just the expectations here. It's good and bad in a sense. We went 9-3 last year and had a good season, but we didn't meet the expectations of our coaches, our players, our community.”
Tracy told his players after a recent practice that the lofty expectations can be reached this season – if they play as a team.
“I told them, 'We've got a shot.'” Tracy said. “We've got a shot to win a lot of football games this year. Bur are we willing to make the sacrifices and do what's right for the team?”
And midway through training camp there were still some questions to be answered. No. 1 among them: Who will replace Jerred Seamons as the starting quarterback?
Those are some big shoes to fill.
“He did a fantastic job leading our football team,” Tracy said. “His work ethic was second to none.”
Tracy said he's narrowed down the competition to two quarterbacks: senior Jared Lasnick and junior Zane Jerman.
“I've always said the mood of your team comes from your quarterback, regardless of what people think,” he said. “You could have a kid who is a little soft there, and your team feels a little soft. Or you could have a kid like we did at one time, and have a Joe Martarano, and people thought we were tough then. It dictates so much on the rest of the team.”
Some coaches prefer to let the competition at the QB position bleed into the regular season. They may choose to split series for the first game or even throughout the year.
He wants to have a starter in place before his first game against Middleton.
“On Day One, I want to be ready and I want to be going,” Tracy said. “To me, it feels like the team wants to know. They want to know who to follow.”
What Tracy DOES know is that he wants the Grizzlies to run the ball effectively. A pair of senior running backs will be instrumental in making that happen.
“Garrett Tipton is super-fast for our level,” Tracy said. “We'll bounce him around, but he's definitely a kid who will have to touch the ball. He's a big-time, dynamic player for us, for sure.”
Complementing Tipton will be Kennon Smith.
“He's a three-year starter,” Tracy said. “We need him to touch the ball at least 10 times a game, and need Garrett to touch the ball 10 times.”
A new addition to the offensive line will help lead the way for Smith and Tipton. Shortly after Christmas, a gift arrived for Tracy in the form of an offensive lineman.
“Luke Thomas is a great big, athletic kid who is going to be playing on the offensive line for us,” Tracy said of the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tackle. “He moved here from Texas last January, and he's just a great kid. … I don't have anything but good things to say about Luke. He's done a fantastic job for us.”