Photo By Kelly Magee - #6 Nic Swensen
Written by Brandon Hill
A tough slate in the new-look Great Basin 7 should prove quite the challenge for Twin Falls. But first-year head coach Ben Kohring said the sky’s the limit for his Bruins in 2020.
The key to Twin Falls’ success this year lies in the hands of returning senior quarterback Nick Swensen. The Bruins’ “trigger man,” according to Kohring, will look to execute a balanced attack, distributing the ball to a host of weapons, including senior tight end Tyler Robbins and senior receiver Iradukunda Emery.
To get over the slump of last year’s 3-6 campaign, Swensen and company will have to right the ship in terms of offensive production. The squad averaged 22 points per game in 2019, sixth-best in the then 10-team conference.
However, Century, Pocatello and Preston, a trio of high-scoring squads, left the Great Basin Conference during the offseason to form their own conference. While Twin Falls still has those teams on the docket for this season, a smaller conference could give the Bruins some help in the standings down the stretch.
But for the program to really turn the corner, Kohring said his team will need to overcome one of their biggest rivals in Week 3.
“(We’re) looking forward to playing Canyon Ridge for the Service Bowl trophy,” he said. “It’s a great game, a great atmosphere for the kids and the community.”
Twin Falls dropped last year’s Service Bowl to the Riverhawks 21-14, with this year’s rematch scheduled for Sept. 11.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bruins will look to replicate an efficient outing from 2019, allowing just 23 points per game.
“We will be smaller on the front end of the defense and will need to fill some holes that departed due to graduation,” Kohring said. “We are looking to be more multiple and aggressive from years past.”
Kohring said Marcus Garcia and Caleb Sheppard will anchor his defensive line, while Robbins will lead his troops from the linebacker position, joined by Andrew Sheen, back from last year’s injury. On the back end, Luke Moon and Emery will look to lock down the deep passing game.
To fill the gaps left by Kohring’s graduated seniors, Twin Falls’ new head coach will call upon free safety Colton Rasmussen, who comes back to the team after taking 2019 off. Moon should make an immediate impact both on the field and in the locker room, as he was named the Great Basin’s Sportsman of the Year last time he hit the gridiron.
Moon will be joined by junior Jace Mahlke, a first-team offensive selection as a sophomore last year. Kohring said he hopes his unique skill set translates to swatting down passes and nabbing interceptions in the secondary.
Twin Falls is scheduled to open against the Vallivue Falcons in Caldwell Aug. 28. Stay tuned to IdahoSports.com for potential schedule changes throughout the year.