There hasn’t been much continuity for Columbia’s senior class. The Wildcats have had four coaches in the past four seasons, and they made the difficult transition to the 5A Southern Idaho Conference last season, where they finished 0-9.
First-year coach Rich Davis hopes to restore confidence and enthusiasm in his players.
“The senior class, you feel bad for them, because every year of high school they’ve had somebody else,” Davis said. “For each of those four (coaches), three of them were a different system, so there hasn’t even really been continuity in terminology or philosophy.”
Davis inherits 16 starters and looks to build a multidimensional offense behind 6-6, 250-pound tackle and college prospect Brandon Kipper. But recent injuries have depleted an O-line that Davis expected to be a strength.
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After allowing opponents an average of 48.3 points per game last season, Davis said he has put an emphasis on basic defensive principles.
“Defensively, we’ve been working on the excitement of flying around and getting to the football,” Davis said.
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Players to watch
BRANDON KIPPER, OL/DL
The 6-6, 250-pound three-sport athlete started on both lines last season as a sophomore, earning honorable mention honors on offense.
CESAR ESPARZA, C
The 5-10, 250-pound senior is the Wildcats’ third-year starter at center. Esparza leads a group that returns four of five starters.
GABE CAMARIO, WR/S
Columbia coach Rich Davis called the 5-8, 150-pound junior the Wildcats’ leader on defense. But he also said he’s opened some eyes as a receiver.
CHAYSE FEWKES, WR/DB
The 5-10, 130-pound senior missed the majority of his junior year after breaking his collarbone twice, but he has stepped forward as a leader during the offseason.