POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Highland High School head football coach, Gino Mariani can't sit when he watches Taysom Hill and Tommy Togiai play.
"I pace around the house and yell at the tv," Mariani said chuckling. “It's going to be an exciting week for football come this weekend."
What are the odds that two East Idaho locals are playing in the NFL Playoffs and one is playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship game?
They have to be pretty slim. What makes this feat more impressive, is that two of them came from Highland High School in Pocatello.
Mariani coached and won a 5A State Football Championship with both Hill and Togiai at Highland.
"It really put Highland on the map in Idaho as far as a hotbed for football and Idaho is not really known for a hotbed of football," Mariani said. "We got good kids and we've got quality kids."
Hill and Togiai have a nine year age difference. Despite that, Togiai viewed Hill as a hero.
“Taysom Hill, I've maybe talked to him a few times," Togiai said in a Sugar Bowl press conference. "He's a great dude and I mean just one of the guys for me who I looked up to because he kind of made it out of Idaho and then to the NFL to the position he is at now. It's just an inspiration, so I mean, just having that was cool."
Just like many in East Idaho, Gino Mariani's tv will be tuned in to watch the Highland duo.
"It says a lot for this program and again, I just, I'm tickled to death that these Idaho kids are doing well on the big stage," Mariani said. "For me, it's like they're representing not just Highland High School and Pocatello as a city but Idaho as a state.”