Note: Lone Peak finished with an 11-2 overall record in 2010 and went 6-0 in region play. The Knights lost in the semifinals of the 5A state playoffs to Fremont.
HIGHLAND — Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary doesn't get too caught up in wins and losses.
"I just want them to give me their best effort," he said of his players. "If they'll listen and work hard and give it all they've got, that's all I can ask. Generally when you do those things, you come out winning."
With seven returning starters, the Knights have some key players back this season. All of them play both offense and defense, including heavily recruited quarterback Chase Hansen.
"We are returning some great student athletes in the skill positions," said McGeary. "We will have more depth in our O and D lines but will need to mature."
Hansen headlines the returning starters after having a stellar season last fall. He had 1,824 yards passing, 1,000 yards rushing and 26 total touchdowns. He also plays safety for the team.
Wide receiver Micah Hannemann will be a favorite target, and defensively he anchors a tough secondary. He had 32 tackles and five interceptions last season.
Senior running back/wide receiver Talon Shumway gives Hansen another athletic target. He had 11 total touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry. On defense he plays defensive back.
Both players and coaches hope to improve on their semifinal appearance last season. The Knights lost a 20-14 heartbreaker to Fremont in the 5A semifinals.
"Last season was bittersweet," McGeary said. "I feel like we let one get away from us against Fremont. We didn't feel like we played our best game."
He said the region may look a little different, but the team's goals are the same.
"Expectations here couldn't be any higher," he said, adding that those expectations are imposed on the coaches and players by themselves.
For many of the players, wearing the Knights' jersey on Friday nights is something they've worked toward for years.
"I have been working up to this since I was in sixth grade," said Bennett Lloyd, a senior defensive end. "I'm super-excited for the season. It means everything to be a Lone Peak Knight. It's a chance to represent my family, my school, my community. I eat, sleep and dream football."
He said any pressure the team feels comes from their own expectations. They are thrilled with the new region, which includes Riverton and Bingham.
"It's going to be hard for sure," said Lloyd. "All the powerhouses are in our region."
Defensive end Justin Simpson said the move to a new region is an opportunity to prove they're an elite program.
"It makes sure everyone knows we are for real," he said.
They're looking forward to their first game against 4A powerhouse Bountiful, but they all have the Bingham game circled on their calendars as well.
Hansen said it's important that they start the season strong — and stay focused no matter who the opponent is.
"I think starting right will set the tone for the rest of the way," he said. "In the past, we've had a tendency to get a little over confident."
They said they remedy that by working as hard as they can every day.
"It's a good region, very competitive region," said McGeary. "My only problem with it is not having seven or eight teams so you have to find games to fill those weeks."
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