Tigers look to move forward in 2017 | RecordCourier.com

Tigers look to move forward in 2017

Coming off a successful 2016 season that led to the Northern 4A region semifinals, the Douglas High football team is looking to carry that momentum this autumn. And needless to say, coach Ernie Monfiletto is brimming with optimism as the Tigers move closer to their Aug. 26 season opener in Pocatello, Idaho.

"I can't wait," said Monfiletto, who is entering his sixth season as head coach and 22nd season overall with the Douglas program. "We're excited about the year and excited about moving forward and hopefully continuing our growth as a program."

The Tigers finished last season with a 6-5 overall record and 3-1 for second-place in the Sierra League, capped by a 47-7 loss against perennial power Reed in the region semifinals.

There are some question marks coming into the new season, though, since the Tigers lost heavily to graduation. The Tigers do have some key returnees to lead the way into their season, which officially kicks off with a 10 a.m. Saturday contest against the Rigby Trojans (Rigby, Idaho) as part of the Rocky Mountain Rumble at Holt Arena in Pocatello.

Start with senior quarterback Hunter Hickey (5-foot-11, 180 pounds). Hickey received second-team all-league recognition last season, when he completed 78 of 138 passes (57 percent) for 747 yards, in addition to 623 rushing yards.

Austin Aiken (6-3, 275) also returns as a first-team all-league and second-team all-region defensive tackle and Andrew Browning, who was second-team all-league defensive tackle as a sophomore.

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Three returnees received honorable mention all-league recognition: Cody Freitas as a defensive end, Kane Hoyopatubbi as a defensive back and Dakota Lowden as a defensive end.

Aiken and Browning are also expected to contribute on the offensive line this season and Lowden is expected to step in as the starter at tailback.

The Tigers, who begin contact drills on Thursday and host McQueen for a scrimmage on Aug. 19, are coming off a busy summer that included trips to the University of Nevada passing tournament on June 10.

"I thought the kids performed really well there," Monfiletto said. "They were 3-1, but it was really about building some team and kind of finding out who belonged where.

"Then we had our summer program and we went to camp at Carson High School," he continued. "I thought it was a productive week, it's just too bad we got canceled our last day because of smoke. And unfortunately we canceled our passing tournament because of the prediction of smoke."

The turnout numbers at Douglas — not to mention a lot of enthusiasm — are plus signs coming into the new season.

"The kids have had great attendance this summer," Monfiletto said. "There's 50 of them (varsity) and our numbers are up overall. Our JV program is around 30, but our freshman program has 55 kids. The attitude at those levels is fantastic and I couldn't do it without great volunteer coaches who give their time to the program."