Written by Brandon Hill
A string of losses down the stretch of the 2019 season kept the Thunder Ridge Titans from reaching the postseason.
The two-year-old program managed to squeak out a conference win against Madison, along with two previous wins against Bonneville and Idaho Falls. While the Titans finished near the bottom of the 5A District 5-6 Conference, the three-win season marked a major improvement from 2018, where Thunder Ridge went completely winless through nine games.
Third-year head coach Jeff Marshall, who has led the program since its inception, said junior quarterback Tao Johnson will look to showcase his increased speed in a much improved Titan offense.
Marshall said the Titans will implement a balanced offensive attack, with senior running back Kaysem Isom carrying the rock for Thunder Ridge. A retooled offensive line will be key in paving the way for Isom and Johnson to light up the scoreboard on Friday nights.
“(We’ll) use (Isom) extensively in the passing game as well as the running game,” Marshall said.
While the Thunder Ridge offense looked promising early last season, posting 32 points against Bonneville and 48 against Idaho Falls, the Titans promptly took a step back in production, failing to eclipse 30 points for the rest of the year and falling short of 10 points against Blackfoot, Highland and Hillcrest.
Marshall’s defense will be responsible for cutting down Thunder Ridge’s margin of defeat, a conference-worst 10 points at the end of last year. Marshall said while his defense comprised of mostly young, inexperienced players last year, his squad has shown impressive growth and maturity this offseason.
The linebacker position will be critical in his gameplan, Marshall said.
“Our linebackers have to stop the run and play coverage, therefore they have more responsibility,” he said.
Senior defensive back Parker Norman will look to lock down the secondary, as Marshall said he has taken great strides in offseason scrimmages.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated Thunder Ridge scores and schedules throughout the season.