Head Coach: Jim Rife, 1st year
2016 Record: 0-8 (0-8 1A-DI Snake River Conference as co-op with Murtaugh)
After four years, Hansen and Murtaugh disbanded their co-op and dropped from 1A Division I to 1A Division II. Hansen head coach Jim Rife expects the new program to experience some growing pains, but he's already seen some positive signs.
One of his main reasons for optimism: about 20 players chose to join the team.
"I’m tickled to death with that number," Rife said.
There's a key piece of context wrapped inside of that figure. Of those 20 players, Rife said, only five played football last season. The road to success is just beginning.
"I’ve got a pretty good group of athletes," Rife said, "but we’ve gotta make them football players."
Of the five returning players, four saw playing time last season — senior lineman Ethan Brizuela, junior lineman Roger Hartgrave, sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Tuff Huizar and junior quarterback Paxton Stimpson.
Rife didn't plan to install offensive or defensive systems until he understood the players he was working with. Wins are not a priority at this stage.
Still, Rife is thrilled with that number 20. He can't wait until September 1, when Hansen hosts its own football game for the first time since 2012.
"It’s exciting to actually get it up and going, see where we can go," he said. "If kids buy into it, I think we can have a successful season."