Photo By Joel Brown - #7 Tescher Harris
Written By: Will Hoenike
When your head coach looks at your two-time All-State offensive lineman and says he has shown significant growth since last season … look out.
“Zach Forsmann has matured and gained more confidence,” said third-year Grangeville head coach Jeff Adams, before noting that the senior lineman is a key because, “being able to play both sides of the ball.”
Second-team All-State as a sophomore. First-team All-State as a junior. And now sliding over to defense as well? He’s got the size to dominate the line on both sides of the ball, standing at 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds. Watch out for no. 74 in the blue and white when Grangeville is on the field.
The Bulldogs, who won ten games last season before falling in the 2A semifinals, will have a bit of a different look this season. No more Noah Kaschmitter, no more Booker Bush, no more Brandon Stump, no more Justin Fogelman, no more Blake Darr. That’s a lot of good football players. Kaschmitter (University of Montana) and Bush (University of Idaho), in particular, earned opportunities to continue their football careers in the Big Sky Conference.
But Adams does return Forsmann and also second-team All-State quarterback Tescher Harris to lead the way in 2019. He’s also excited about the chemistry his returning squad has.
“These kids get along,” Adams said. “They’re mentally tough, they have an edge to them.”
The key to any offensive engine is its quarterback and Grangeville has a solid one in Harris. He helped lead the Bulldogs to more than 40 points per game last fall. He’ll have a steady group in front of him led by Forsmann, the center, and fellow returning linemen William Nichols and Wyatt Williams.
Adams and his staff will have to develop some new playmakers. Senior Kyle Frei should see an increased pass-catching role this fall along with junior Dane Lindsley and sophomore Miles Lefebvre. Sophomore Nelson Bruzas could step into the backfield as a running back for the Bulldogs.
Defensively, Adams said Forsmann will see an increased role along the front line. He’ll be joined by sophomore Isaac Dewey in front of linebackers Jason Rose, Caleb Frei, and Bruzas. Kyle Frei and senior Caleb Barger will hold down key spots in the Bulldog secondary.
The Bulldogs were one step away from the 2A title game last season. They’ll have to navigate a tricky regular season to have an opportunity to complete the climb in 2019. The campaign opens at 4A Moscow and also features home games against 3A foes Kellogg and Priest River. Throw in a long bus ride down to Nampa Christian – to be fair, Grangeville doesn’t have many quick bus rides to games - as well as a rivalry contest against Clarkston (WA).
Central Idaho League play doesn’t commence until the final two weeks of the season. Each of the league’s three teams qualified for post-season play last season with Grangeville and St. Maries each reaching the quarterfinals. Those two teams will play on October 11 in St. Maries. Then, the Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season at home against Orofino on October 18 before postseason play begins.
With some experience in the trenches and a veteran field general in Harris, Grangeville has the look of a team that could compete for more than just a playoff spot. If the new players grow into roles as the coaching staff expects, the Bulldogs should be a tough team to beat in 2019.