Photo By Mike Turner - #44 James Billingsley
Written by Chris Deremer
With the 2020 season shortly around the corner, the Timberlake Tigers aim to continue success within the experienced program.
After picking up their first loss of the season in the state semifinals last year, the Tigers look to get back to their unfinished business.
Kelly Amos enters his first season as the Timberlake head coach, but the transition for the first-year head coach should be a rather simple one for the veteran coach. Amos has been a part of the Timberlake staff for the past seven years, with this time being his second stint as the head coach.
Keeping all of the previous coaching staff, it may be safe to say that the Tigers have one of the best-built programs in the state.
“Our staff has 147 years of combined football coaching experience,” Amos said. “Most are either current or former head coaches in various other sports. You just don’t get that type of staff at our level.”
Last season, Timberlake was able to produce a stellar senior class that helped propel its run to the state semifinals. This season, the Tigers will be without their eight offensive first team All-Intermountain League players and their nine defensive first team All-Intermountain League players from last season.
Despite the massive loss of talent, it is time for the next group to step up and take the reigns of the program.
For the Timberlake offense, coach Amos says that the key to this season’s success is to which new skill players will step up and take control when needed.
“We are replacing almost all of our offensive production from last year,” Amos said. “Their development will determine our success.”
Despite boasting many new faces on offense this season, the Tiger offensive line remains mostly intact with three starters returning from last year.
One to keep an eye out for will be senior Ryder Paslay. Paslay received first-team All-Intermountain League honors a season ago and looks to be a staple for the team again this season. Junior offensive lineman Brian Bell and senior tight end Hunter Hughes look to be other key factors for the Tiger offense this season.
Amos says that the trio upfront will help bring the veteran experience needed for the upcoming season.
For many years, the Intermountain League in Idaho 3A high school football has been known for tough and gritty competition, and Timberlake is no exception. This year, the Tigers look to go back to the physical running attack offense that can tire opposing defenses quickly. Winning the war in the trenches on both sides of the ball will be key to Timberlake finding success once again.
For the defense, Amos says that the physicality will revolve around their front seven.
“They must make running the ball difficult for opponents,” Amos said. “This group will need to carry the defense while our defensive backs develop.”
In the state semifinals last season, the Tigers allowed a staggering 51 points in their loss to Homedale.
With many teams outside the IML boasting strong passing attacks, the development of the Tiger secondary will be an interesting storyline this season.
Timberlake opens the season hosting South Fremont Aug. 28.