Columbia High School
Conference: 5A Southern Idaho Conference - West Division Pod B
Head Coach: Juan Colunga
Years as Head Coach: 1st at Columbia
Previous Experience: Varsity assistant at Marsh Valley high school 2006-2009.
Head Coach at Rimrock high school 2010-2012.
QB’s Coach at Columbia high school in 2013.
Record Last Year: 3-6
State Titles: None
Tim Bourner, Todd Cady, Mike Chavez, Rich Davis, Tom Dowers, Casey Hedrick, Cal McQueary, Brian Mardquart
Who do you have coming back this year?
Dakota Hall HB/FS-SR;
Brad King OL/LB-JR;
Daniel Rodriguez OL/DL-JR;
Brandon Kipper OL/DL-SO;
Conner Warr TE/LB-SR;
Cesar Esparza OL/DL-JR;
Ethan Hays OL/DL-SR;
Skyler Wiley TE/DL-SR;
Any “Key Players” that you lost from last year?
Devin Thorp – OL/DL – Was a great presence up front. Michael Stanger – LB – Leader on the field.
Do you have any new incoming “impact” players?
Garrett Turner – QB – SO;
Gavin Rivera – QB/HB/DB – JR;
Ben Weiss – OL/DL – JR;
Carlos Limon – OL/LB – JR;
Tanner Hughes – Fullback/LB – SO;
Gabriel Camario – HB/LB – SO;
Alex Martinez – HB/LB – SO;
Kishan Joiner – WR/DB – SO;
As a team, what are your offensive strengths?
The strength for this year’s team is a young but experienced offensive line. Brad King (Guard) and Daniel Rodriguez (Tackle) started every game last season. Cesar Esparza started the last three games of the year at Center. Brandon Kipper played Varsity tackle for the last two games of last year as well. Conner Warr returns as the starting Tight End and should help at Receiver. Ben Weiss should fill in at the other Guard position.
Offensive areas you hope to improve on over last year:
Hope to stay healthier this year, especially in the offensive line. Hope to get some more production from the Quarterback position. Have a more balanced offensive attack and spread the wealth around.
As a team, what are your defensive strengths?
Defensive strength will be a young but athletic linebacker unit. Experience gained will be very valuable.
Defensive Areas you hope to improve on over last year:
Pass rush and overall defensive aggressiveness. Fly around to the ball and improve our tackling as a team.
Does your team have a motto/theme for the upcoming season?
“The best part of memories is making them…..What memories will you have after the 2014 season is over? The choice is yours”.
What are you most excited about in regards to this year’s team?
This years team will feature a lot of young players getting valuable playing time and experience. It will be exciting to see the players perform and improve as the year goes on.
For the fans, what is the must-see game of the year on your schedule?
The Nampa game in Week 1 and the Meridian game in week 6.
Nampa game will be important because both schools move up to the 5A ranks this year after playing 4A. To be 5A city champs would go a long way in building tradition, excitement and adding a little fire to the rivalry would be great as well as earning bragging rights for the 2014 season.
Meridian will be an exciting and emotional game as Brandon Harris, the Columbia head coach from last year returns to Columbia after taking the Meridian Defensive Coordinator position. It will be an exciting and emotional game for Columbia and new head coach Juan Colunga as Colunga played for Harris at Melba over a decade ago and coached QB’s under Harris last year. The players and fans will be excited for this game.
What is the ‘X-Factor’ to having success this season as a team?
The biggest factor that will allow us to have a successful season is for all players to work hard and get better each and every practice and game this season. We will be extremely young so improving technique, work ethic and gaining experience and confidence will be very important.
If you could change one rule in high school football, what would it be?
If I could change a rule or a format in Idaho High School football it would be to NOT pre-set the state tournament seedlings and pairings. We should go to a conventional seeding system based off of strength of schedule and common opponents at the end of the regular season.
Besides the pay, the fame and the glory, why do you coach high school football?
I coach high school football because I love the challenge, the grind, the journey, and the struggle to achieve a dream as a team. Seeing the joy and pain in kids because they love and care about the game is surreal, to see how much they have put in and see their hard work pay of is rewarding as a coach.
What makes your school the best place to coach for?
The fact that Columbia will finally have a stable head coach and that we are on our way to building great traditions and memories.