Photo By Kelly Magee - #12 Dalan Thompson
Written By: Sven Alskog
Experience is the name of the game for Jerome this season.
Long-time coach Sid Gambles returns for his seventh season as the head coach and 18th total on the sideline for the Tigers, boasting a roster that has three First Team All-Conference performers returning.
That trio of lineman Isaac Peters, do-everything athlete Garrett Elison and quarterback Dalan Thompson has the potential to help lead Jerome to a winning season for the first time since the 2013 campaign.
Compared to last year, the experience factor should play a major role in the success at the varsity level.
“Right now we have more experience, which will pay some dividends early I hope,” said Gambles.”
The offensive philosophy should allow for the athletic pieces that are on the roster to get out in space and make plays, something which wasn’t much of a problem last year either, with the Tigers scoring 20 or more points in every game in 2018.
“We run spread and like to throw a bunch of screens. We hope to get the ball to Garrett Elison a bunch. He’s a quick guy with lots of toughness,” added Gambles, who says there was a similar focus area in the offseason as normal. “Same as every year on offense: run the ball well when the other team knows you want to run the ball.”
If the Tigers can do that, the offense has the potential to be difficult to slow down.
Young offensive linemen Kaleb Lightner, Porter Wright and Joe Stevenson each will be asked to fill major roles on the roster this season and will be critical to the success of the group.
Ryke Wilson and Peters will also be relied upon on both lines to add some size and strength for Jerome. Gambles says that Wilson has gotten after it in the weight room this offseason. Inside linebacker Blake Poulsen was another player that the coach highlighted.
While the offense didn’t have much of an issue putting up points in 2018, the defense struggled to slow the opposition down, something that they hope to improve on this time around.
“We run a 4-2-5 defense. We need to pursue and tackle a little better early in the season. We are asking a lot out of Jeffrey Ledezma, JW James and Isaac Peters. Those guys are our leaders on defense and they make a ton of plays,” said Gambles.
Jerome starts the season at home against Burley before back-to-back road contests at Preston and Wood River.