Nampa Christian Football practice

Caleb Johnson, left, and Landon Cheney run through a drill during practice last season.

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The Idaho Press is counting down to the start of the 2020 high school football season by spotlighting all of the teams and the top players from the Treasure Valley. Next up is Nampa Christian.

NAMPA — It wasn’t planned.

Daniel Jenkins’ return to the place that gave him his first coaching job that is. He was just named the new Nampa Christian High School football coach two weeks ago.

“My wife and I had a conversation when the position opened,” Jenkins said. “Initially, we weren’t going to go for it. But there were a few conversations with some people who were involved with the school and the opportunity presented himself and we made it and we’re here.”

He is back following a one-year stint in Parma and hopes to reinvigorate a program that not too long ago was among the best in the state.

“There’s a new energy here with the football program and I just feel that guys are ready to rock and roll and really get the wheels turning,” Jenkins said. “And once we get the wheels turning, there’s going be no stopping us.”

Jenkins came in as the running backs and defensive backs coach in 2015. The Trojans took third at state that year. But they haven’t posted a winning season since.

Things got particularly rough for Nampa Christian in 2018. It went 2-6, but still earned a playoff spot because 16 of the 21 2A teams made state back then. The Trojans ultimately declined because mounting injuries left them with only 16 players on the roster. The decision snapped an 11-year postseason streak. The next year, Jenkins headed 25 miles west to accept his first head coaching job with the Panthers.

Nampa Christian rebounded a bit last year. It returned to the playoffs and finished 4-5. So with seven players back on both sides of the ball from that team, Jenkins is hoping to build off of it.

“I thought that there were some opportunities on both sides of the ball that I’m hoping to kind of just bring out from this team,” Jenkins said. “It’s a very talented team that’s coming back this season.”

All-Western Idaho Conference quarterback Landon Cheney is among them. He earned first-team honors as just a sophomore last year after seeing some time under center his freshman season. Cheney also has pretty good size at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds.

Another returning first-teamer is defensive back Josh Tiersma, who’s looking to live up to the family name. Older brothers Matt and Steve both had a lot of success in the crimson and gold uniforms. Matt was a first-team all-league selection on the offensive line last year, while Steve was an all-state quarterback and the MVP of the conference for the Trojans in 2016.

“Josh is going to be the heart of our team,” Jenkins said.

Josh Tiersma and junior Dane Bradshaw, a multiple time all-conference player himself, should make quite the tandem in the secondary.

Bradshaw will also be one of the primary ball carriers. He was a second-team running back a year ago. Fellow junior Caleb Johnson will join him in the backfield. He was a second-team pick at fullback in 2019. His other duty will include helping fill the void left by first-team linebacker Jon Bean. Johnson himself was a second-team selection at the position last season.

Jadyn Curry is one to watch on defense as well. The junior lineman, who is pushing 250 pounds, racked up All-WIC second-team honors last year

So Jenkins’ homecoming seems to have come at the perfect time.

“I’m here to bring Nampa Christian back to where the administration and the fans expect it to be and continue that Nampa Christian tradition,” Jenkins said. “Bringing more excitement to the program is one of the reasons why I came back. So getting us back to that point would be phenomenal. There’s a lot of hurdles in front of us to get to that point, but I think we can do it.”

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