High school football: American Fork Cavemen 2011 preview
Note: American Fork finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2010 and a 2-4 record in Region 4. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
AMERICAN FORK — Similar to the rest of the state, American Fork is experiencing change from 2010. Although the Cavemen are staying put in Region 4, the departure and arrival of three new programs gives this season a much different feel.
This year, Bingham, Riverton and Lehi replace Alta, Brighton and Jordan that relocated to Region 3.
"It's fun playing (different) opponents. We're excited that Bingham, the best program in the state, is in our region," said American Fork coach Aaron Behm. "We've got a natural rivalry with Lehi, I think it'll be pretty neat — I'm excited about it."
It'll be considered one of the most difficult regions to navigate through, which places even more pressure on the preseason to prepare for what lies ahead — something American Fork struggled to do last season.
The Cavemen had a disastrous start to 2010 with a 23-0 shellacking from 3A Cedar. "They were a great opponent and took it to us," said Behm. "We're excited to play them again, and no matter who's on our schedule, we want to compete at a high level."
Losses to Timpanogos and Cottonwood followed suit. In the three game period American Fork was outscored 80-27.
All three teams return to the Cavemen preseason schedule along with Spanish Fork and Copper Hills before playing cross-town rival Lone Peak on opening night of region play.
"It puts a lot of emphasis on our preseason — we need to come out in our games," said Behm on the unlucky draw of playing the Knights first. "It's going to put a lot more emphasis on those games even though it's preseason, those games are going to be very, very important."
The preseason also marks a crucial stretch in which young players can adapt to playing under the lights at the varsity level — growing pains are the last thing teams want when games truly start to count.
This couldn't be truer for American Fork, that is swarmed with underclassmen. The Cavemen lost their top two rushers, Trinity Deveraux and Kaiden Worthington, along with quarterback Ryan Pitcher.
The trio combined for virtually the entire offensive production last season — teaming up for 1,442 yards and eight scores off 305 carries.
In a triple-option offense, only eight other players saw touches for a mere 211 yards and two touchdowns.
Uh-oh, that spells trouble.
Therefore, AF will have to rely on getting the ball into playmakers Dallin Lindsey's and Dreden Snowden's hands, who primarily line up outside the hashes.
Both players are burners, clocking in at 4.5 40-yard dashes. Mix that with natural athleticism and instinct, it becomes a deadly potion.
"They're both playmakers, so they're going to be exciting to watch," Behm said. "They'll help us out in the defensive secondary at the corner position. When the ball gets in their hands, there's a lot of good things that can happen for us."
American Fork Cavemen at a glance
Coach: Aaron Behm is a graduate of Grant Community, Illinois and is in his second year at American Fork after an opening 3-7 debut coaching season.
(3 starters; triple-option)