Two teams looking to rebound in 2014 — the Douglas Tigers and Minico Spartans — will square off against each other Saturday morning to kickoff the Rocky Mountain Rumble in Pocatello, Idaho.
The teams are set for a 9:30 a.m. (PDT) kickoff indoors at Holt Arena.
Douglas has been 2-8 and 4-6 in Ernie Monfiletto’s first two seasons as head coach of the program. He has been on the program’s staff since 1996, and the Tigers have qualified for the postseason in 17 of 18 seasons. Douglas also opened its 2011 season at the Rocky Mountain Rumble, losing 49-36 against Pocatello.
“We’re excited about going back to Idaho,” Monfiletto said. “With this team being young, it’s a great opportunity to get the kids away and do some team building.”
Minico finished last season with a 5-5 record yet missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade. With nine returners and eight on offense, they’re now looking to compete for a Great Basin Conference title in Tim Perrigot’s 19th season as coach.
“The conference is getting tougher every year,” Perrigot told the Twin Falls Times-News in a recent interview. “If we stay healthy, it should be a great year for the Spartans. We are hoping to be in the mix again.”
Quarterback Tanner Harper returns to direct the Spartans’ wing-T offense after throwing for 1,900 yards and 13 TDs in 2013. Dan Freiburger was a 1,000-yard rusher with 11 TDs and Nico Chavez returns as the school’s single-season receiving record holder. Peyton Bailey earned all-conference recognition at running back and linebacker as a sophomore last season, however, the Times-News reports he has been sidelined after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Minico is led up front by returning all-state lineman Josh Barclay (6-foot-4, 250 pounds), who was also Idaho’s Gatorade Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year this spring after setting a state record of 64-feet, 9-inches in the shot put.
Monfiletto doesn’t need to look at statistics to know the Tigers are facing a formidable challenge.
“They’re notoriously a good football team,” Monfiletto said of the Spartans. “I know they have a quality program that does things the right way.”
The Tigers counter with some strength of their own, especially on defense. The front seven features three returning all-Sierra League players: Andrew Jensen at nose guard, along with linebackers Cale Kynett and Kaleb Foster. Defensive tackle Zach Singer also returns at tackle to help anchor the defensive front.