Tony Cade will step behind the helm of the Ontario Tiger football ship this season, replacing former head coach Erik Johnson. Cade was hired in June. (Photo courtesy of Tony Cade)

ONTARIO – Tony Cade is ready for some football.

That’s a good thing, since he is the new grid coach for Ontario High School and the former Burley, Idaho, teacher has some long-range plans for the program.

“I want the community involved, the school, the kids,” said Cade.

Cade was hired in June, replacing former coach Erik Johnson. Johnson departed at the end of the school year to take a job at Eagle Point High School in southern Oregon.

Cade coached football at Burley High School for the past two years and was an assistant coach for a Blackfoot, Idaho, program that clinched four state titles.

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Cade, who will teach P.E. and health at Ontario, said he has coached football for 18 years. Before that he played college football – as a long snapper and outside linebacker – for Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

“I am looking to build a program and friggin’ rebuild every year. I look at this program as from fourth grade all the way up to 12th grade. I am excited to move my family up here,” said Cade. 

Cade said last week he greeted about 30 Ontario players for summer football workouts. Already, he is impressed.

“What I like about them is the toughness. I like their mentality,” said Cade.

Cade said while it is still early, he likes what he sees with his offensive linemen.

“They’re tough. They’re mean,” he said.

Cade said he is concerned about depth for the Tigers but said he believes once school starts more kids will join the team.

“We will be young and we are going to have to get through that. But we are physical. I love that and I am excited,” said Cade.

One major change for Cade will be the structure of the Greater Oregon League. Cade said McLoughlin High School dropped out of the GOL for the 2019 season. That means, he said, only Ontario, Baker City and La Grande remain.

“It will be interesting to see how it works,” said Cade. “All I know now is that I have to beat Baker twice and La Grande twice.”

Cade said regardless of the opponent, the Tigers will be ready when the season begins.

“We are going to compete. We won’t back down from nothing,” said Cade.

Cade said he is “pretty high-intensity” but he loves being a coach.

“I like being around kids and education and watching them grow and succeed. I just like being around a sport that has been good to me,” said Cade. 

The Tigers will open their season Friday, Aug. 30 at the Nyssa Jamboree. 

“I am looking for Ontario to be a competitor year-in and year-out,” said Cade.

Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377. 

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