Sugar-Salem has won state titles in almost every sport, except for football.
That all changed in 2018 when Diggers’ head coach Tyler Richins led the Diggers to their first 3A state title ever, beating Homedale 30-22 on a goal line stand out at Middleton High Schools.
After winning a state title as a Teton quarterback in 1999, Richins earned himself another ring 19 years later by coaching a 10-1 Diggers team to 10-straight wins and reach their first state title in three decades.
The historical 2018 season is the main reason Richins is the Post Register's Coach of the Year.
“We’re trying to put this program in a place where year after year after year be successful and I feel like we’re getting there,” Richins told the Post Register on Nov. 11. “We’re getting to that place where that buy in and that culture and everything we want in our football program is there. And it’s been a process, but we got great fans, great administration and great kids and support in our community.”
Sugar-Salem’s only loss this past fall: a two-point loss to 2A state champion Declo, lead by Boise State commit Keegan Duncan, in the first week of the season.
After that, Sugar-Salem — led by talented seniors like Ethan Warner, Gerohm Rihari, Hayden Crapo, Westin Bratt and Brady Blaser — outscored opponents 467-105 thanks to a platoon backfield, solid game management by quarterback Tanner Harris and a stifling defense that surrendered just 11 points per game.
Two wins saw Sugar-Salem score 65 points-or-more (67 against Snake River; 79 against Parma) and three times the Diggers scored 50 points-or-more (54 against American Falls; 56 against Teton and Kimberly).
The Diggers gave up 20-plus points just twice all year — both in the last two weeks of their 3A state title season.
Other coaches nominated for Coach of the Year:
Kevin Meyer, Hillcrest
Ben Lenz, North Fremont