Kellogg High School
Conference: 3A Intermountain League
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Head Coach: Tim Kimberling
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Record Last Year: 1-7
State Titles: 1975
OL/DL Kaleb Johnson; OL/DL Damien Spencer; DL Garrett Hawkins; TE/DE Jacob Hammerberg; RB/LB Houston Bartlett; RB/LB Ryan Morgan; RB/LB Anthony Noto; WR/DB Wolfgang Beier
Returning Players with Honors:
Garrett Hawkins, 1st-Team All-Intermountain League Defense; Damien Spencer, 2nd-team All-Intermountain League Offense
Photo By: Jason Duchow - #55 Damien Spencer
Incoming impact players:
OL/DL Owen Seatz; OL/DL Colten Petersen; OL/DL Orin Tomczyk; TE/DE Ethan Keele
Written by: Will Hoenike
For Tim Kimberling, his second season as head coach of the Kellogg Wildcats could be about continuing incremental improvements.
Overall, Kellogg’s 2015 results may not look overwhelming from the outside looking in. The team finished 1-7, missing the 3A state playoffs and allowing an average of 38 points per game. But, if you dig a little deeper, there may be some signs of life in a program that has struggled for traction over the past several seasons.
Notably, the Wildcats concluded the season with a solid, shutout victory over Intermountain League rival Priest River to head into the offseason on a positive note. Kimberling and his staff have an opportunity to build from the inside out, with two returning starters along the offensive and defensive front (seniors Kaleb Johnson and Damien Spencer) and three newcomers that Kimberling expects to make an impact – senior Orin Tomczyk, junior Colten Petersen and sophomore Owen Seatz.
The team also has returning tight end Jacob Hammerberg and incoming junior Ethan Keele to help not only with blocking in the ground game, but giving the team downfield receiving threats in the pass game.
Kimberling has a trio of players he expects to contribute to the rushing attack in big senior Houston Bartlett, shifty senior Anthony Noto and junior Ryan Morgan. Both Bartlett and Noto qualified for the state wrestling tournament and Morgan, who participated in the state track meet as a high jumper, had a rushing touchdown in the season-ending win over Priest River.
If the line can grow and gel as a unit, Kellogg should have some success moving the ball on the ground.
Defensively, as noted above, the squad pitched a shutout and also held Orofino to 14 points in an early-season contest. It marks the first time since 2011 that Kellogg held two opponents to 14 points or less. The 2011 team did it three times in a row, all wins, which also marks the last time the program won at least two games in a row.
The same group of offensive linemen that should help Kellogg improve on offense will be vital on defense. They’ll be joined by All-IML defensive end Garrett Hawkins and tasked with controlling the line of scrimmage. If they can, the linebacking corps of Bartlett, Morgan and Noto should have an easier time making plays and limiting opponents’ offensive attacks.
Kimberling will need to develop some depth in the secondary. Junior Wolfgang Beier returns to the starting lineup, but the other three spots were up for grabs going into fall camp.
The Intermountain League has belonged to Timberlake for several years. The Tigers appear poised to have a solid season once again, but an argument can be made that the gap has closed. Both Bonners Ferry and Priest River return solid teams and Kellogg has the pieces to be a handful as well.
The Wildcats have opportunities early in the season to build some momentum with home games against Medical Lake (WA), Highwood (Alberta) and Omak (WA). The key to the season very well could be the growth and development of the team’s offensive and defensive lines. If those come along as the season progresses, the final two games of the regular season could be very interesting for Kellogg. The team hosts IML rivals Bonners Ferry (10/14) and Timberlake (10/21) and, while the challenge is difficult, the Wildcats’ playoff fate will be in their own hands.