Mullan High School
Conference: Independent/JV Schedule
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Head Coach: Stetson Spooner
Years as Head Coach: 5th Season
Previous Experience: HS assistant in Montana
State Titles: 1984-1985
QB/LB Gryphon Todd (Jr); DB/WR Sheldon Trogden (Jr)
Incoming impact players:
LB/WR Royal Barnes (Jr); RB/LB Skye Galloway (Fr); WR/DB Caden Crandall (Fr); WR/DB Sam Hess (Fr); Utility Matt Peite (Fr)
Written by: Will Hoenike
(Editor's Note: Since this preview was published, Mullan has been forced to cancel their 8-man games and drop out of White Star League competition because of low roster numbers. The team will play 6-man games instead throughout the season).
Ask head coach Stetson Spooner which game is a must-see for the Mullan Tigers this season and he has a simple, yet profound answer.
“All of them,” Spooner told the Preview. “They are all worth gold to us with not having any games at all one year ago.”
The Tigers are back on the gridiron after being forced to cancel last season due to low player turnout. It was even touch-and-go earlier this summer whether or not Mullan would be able to return to the field this fall. But they’re here. And they’re excited.
“Our student-athletes get the opportunity to compete,” Spooner said when asked what he was most excited about. “And for our community to have the greatest sport ever back in town on Friday nights.”
The season kicks off on August 26 at Deary – a daunting task, the Mustangs were the 1A Division 2 state runner-up last season – and officially returns to Mullan, the small community along Interstate 90, east of Couer d’Alene, on September 9 against Genesis Prep.
Spooner actually has two returners from two seasons ago, juniors Gryphon Todd (QB/LB) and Sheldon Trogden (DB/WR). Spooner and offensive coordinator Dan Fritz will lean on that duo as the two players with varsity experience. As a result, the coaches aren’t entirely sure what to expect just yet.
“Without having a team (last season),” Spooner reasoned. “We are going to be painting on a blank canvas this season.”
That means opportunity. Opportunity for kids to carve out roles and for a team to create a future for the program.
Beyond Todd and Trogden, the Tigers will turn to junior WR/DB Royal Barnes to make plays. Also in the mix are freshmen Skye Galloway (RB/LB), Sam Hess (WR/DB), Caden Crandall (WR/DB) and Matt Peite.
Judging such a young team on wins and losses after not fielding a team last season may not be fair. Judging them on growth and improvement from Week 1 to Week 9 might be the true measure. And, as the old saying goes, you don’t play the game on paper. There’s no rule that says Mullan can’t win games.
“The consistent Mullan toughness has to show up,” Spooner continued. “If it does the way it has before, success will be in the forecast.”
Working in Mullan’s favor – a schedule that features six consecutive home games. White Star League toughies Lakeside and Kendrick both have to play in Mullan, as do long-time North Star rivals Kootenai and Clark Fork.
There isn’t an 8-man football coach in Idaho that won’t list “health” as a key factor for the season. Given this team’s youth, inexperience and lack of depth, it is extra important for the Tigers. But, if the team can find some success early, find the right players for the right roles and, yes, stay healthy … who knows?
It would be the ultimate feel-good story in Idaho.