Conference: Sawtooth Conference East Division
Classification: 1A D2
Share preview with friends!
Head Coach: John Yadon
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Record Last Year: 1-5
Mark Mathison, QB/DE, 12th
Kyle McCain, OG/DE, 12th
Kyson Poletti, RB/LB, 11th
Hunter Rogers, C/NT, 10th
Lucas Marlin, RB/LB, 10th
Returning Players with Honors:
Kyson Poletti - 1st Team All-Conference LB & 2nd Team All-Conference RB
Mark Mathison - 2nd Team All-Conference DE
Key Players lost from last year:
Clayton Christensen, OG/DT
Nathaniel Marlin, RB/LB
Incoming impact players:
Lucas Marlin, RB/LB, 10
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
Watersprings head football coach John Yadon is a busy man.
Not only does he serve as football coach and athletic director, he is also the girls basketball coach come winter time. Oh, and he’s the principal of the small Christian school in Idaho Falls.
Busy life, indeed.
However, Yadon says that it’s all worth it when he sees the impact that his work can have on his players, regardless of results on the field.
“Impacting players for God is what makes high school football great for me personally,” he said. “Helping them learn hard work, discipline, and teamwork and helping them understand that winning and losing doesn’t necessarily happen on the scoreboard, but what they do on and off the field. Most importantly, knowing that their value is not associated with how good of an athlete they are, but in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for them. All things they will need to succeed in life and their walk with Christ.”
Watersprings will be on the lower-end of numbers once again this season as the 1A Division-II school suits up for another football campaign. Despite going 1-5 a year ago and making the play-in round of the playoffs, they had to forfeit their play-in game to Lighthouse Christian because of low numbers. This year, the Warriors lost a few players to graduation, including Clayton Christensen and Nathanial Merlin.
“Clayton was dominating on both sides of the ball and was the Sawtooth East Conference Player of the Year,” Yadon said. “Nathaniel was a big playmaker for us on both sides of the ball, could run and catch, and we don’t have anyone with his speed this year.”
The Warriors will be breaking in quite a few freshmen and new players in 2016. Yadon said that their theme is ‘Heart of a Warrior’ because they will need to build the heart to battle every play and not give up.
Offensively, the Warriors return Mark Mathison and Kyson Poletti for another campaign and are expected to shoulder most of the offensive load. Veteren lineman Kyle McCain and sophomore Hunter Rogers will anchor the offensive line. Look for newcomer Lucas Marlin to make an impact as a sophomore.
“We have a few new players with decent size to fill out the line, which may be stronger than we expected this year,” Yadon said. “Our main focus will be ball control. Lucas has decent size and speed. If things click this year, he could be the key to us being more competitive.” The offense averaged 29.3 points per game in 2015.
Yadon added that he hopes to cut down on penalties and bad snaps in critical situations, both of which hampered Watersprings at different moments last year.
Defensively, Watersprings expects to be tough against the run with Mathison and McCain at defensive end and Rogers at nose tackle. Poletti and Marlin will lead out at linebacker.
“We have five guys in the box that should do well at containing the run,” Yadon said. “We need to do much better, however, at avoiding the big touchdown plays. We need to keep everything in front of us.” The defense gave up an average of 50.5 points per game last year.
Overall, Yadon sees great potential in his squad but acknowledged that his team will most likely experience growing pains.
“We are very inexperienced this year, but some of the new guys are decent athletes,” he said. “I’m excited to see how they respond to the team leaders and how they will improve. We will need our new guys to step up. We don’t have enough veteran guys to be solid all the way around, so some news guys will have to make plays for us to be successful.”
Watersprings opens up the season on September 2nd when the Warriors travel to Dietrich. They then head home for four straight home games beginning on the 9th when they take on Lighthouse Christian, followed by Clark County, Butte County, and Rockland. After a double bye week, the Warriors finish the regular season on the road in Bancroft against North Gem.
“Butte County will likely be the toughest team in our conference as they move down from 1A Division-I,” Yadon said. “North Gem will be tough, but Rockland will be right there as well. Clark County is low on numbers, but they will probably find a way to be competitive. Last year, teams in our conference competed well against state contenders, so our conference is competitive, but probably not at the state finals level unless Butte County can stay healthy.
Health is always a key in 1A Division-II football. It can ruin a season. It can also lead to a magical season. Yadon is hoping that his team can stay healthy enough to compete and grow in their individual football talents and come closer to taking the next step as a football program.