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. First up is Greenleaf Friends Academy.
It’s hard to exactly know what to expect out of Greenleaf Friends Academy in 2020. The Grizzlies just reinstated their program a month ago, so the schemes, systems and playbooks are all still very much a work in progress.
But one thing is for sure. Football is back for the first time in five years at Idaho’s oldest Christian based private school (112 years).
“Over the years, we’ve had a couple really good athletes leave the school because we didn’t offer football. And that really bothered us,” Greenleaf coach Tyler Hoaglun said. “So we really want to get this thing going and going the right way.”
Hoaglun looks to be just the person to make sure that happens.
His grandfather Stan Hoaglun led Homedale to its last state title in 1997. Tyler Hoaglun has won four state championships himself as a coach. He was an assistant coach for the Nampa Christian baseball team during its run of four straight titles from 2014-18.
He knows his football too.
Hoaglun was the quarterback at Nampa Christian from 2001-03 and coached Greenleaf’s middle school program for three years.
“It’s exciting to start your own program,” Hoaglun said. “I’ve watched my grandpa have a lot of success and I’ve played enough and watched enough over the years to be confident in my own abilities.”
He’ll oversee a team that will consist of players from not only Greenleaf, but both Centennial Baptist and Gem State Academy out of Caldwell. The three private based Christian schools are combining to compete under the Grizzly banner. Greenleaf hasn’t had its own team since 2015. It’s had players like twin brothers Evan and Aedan Kincheloe play for nearby Wilder the last few seasons instead.
But the Kincheloes, along with others, are returning home since they now have a place to play.
Juniors Evan and Aedan Kincheloe were both starters on the defensive line for Wilder’s state semifinal team a year ago.
Junior quarterback Tucker TenHoltzen and senior wideout Christian Hazen are also homegrown kids.
Colby Watanbe and brothers Evan and Clayton Holloway come via Centennial Baptist. Watanbe is a junior linebacker and tight end. Evan Holloway is a lineman, while younger brother Clayton will compete with TenHoltzen at quarterback. Clayton Holloway can also play at wide receiver.
Greenleaf went 0-6 the last year it competed and it hasn’t had a win on the field since 2012 — the last winning season.
The Grizzlies haven’t qualified for state since at least 1985.
“It will be a challenge, but I don’t know if I’m overly optimistic or what, but I really expect us to compete,” Hoaglun said. “I can see a couple of wins that first year.
“I just want to build something, keep the students we have here, build a culture, get these kids tough and create a name for ourselves.”