Previewing high school football 2011 from A to Z

Published: Thursday, Aug. 18 2011 9:59 p.m. MDT

I IS FOR INNOVATION

The spread offense has been taken to a whole new platform. With hand signals, play sheet wristbands and quick up-tempo no-huddle schemes — it's almost impossible to take your eyes off the game, because you might just miss something.

J IS FOR JUMPSTART

First-year teams aren't supposed to make the playoffs right? Well that's exactly what Herriman did last season. The Mustangs flirted with one of the biggest upsets of the year — leading 18-13 at halftime against then unbeaten Cottonwood in the first round. With quarterback Tueni Lupeamanu and tailback Francis Bernard returning, Herriman believes a winning season is in store this year.

K IS FOR KICKING

Jordan's placekicker, Jeff Gaston, has received national attention for his ability to boot the football a country mile and according to Nike he's the No. 1-rated kicking prospect in Utah. He's attended seven national camps, placing first in Colorado. He was also a finalist in a national kicking tournament in Las Vegas.

L IS FOR LEGACY

Morgan Scalley (Highland), David Fiefia (Hunter), Bo Nagahi (Skyline), Daniel Coats (Northridge), Kyle Brady (Tooele), Ray Feinga (Hunter), Jason Zundel (Bear River), Riley Nelson (Logan), Sausan Shakerin (Alta), Boo Andersen (Alta), Craig Bills (Timpview), Tuni Kanuch (Bingham) and Alex Kuresa (Mountain Crest) have all won the prestigious Deseret News Mr. Football award. Who will this year?

M IS FOR MOTIVATION

Losing in the championship game is tormenting. It's one of the deepest pains a football player can ever experience. Now try that three straight times. For the Hurricane football team to travel a combined 12 hours driving back to St. George from Rice-Eccles Stadium after losing on the final play is unconscionable. The Tigers have the talent to make a fourth push at achieving the highest honor in high school sports this year. One thing is for certain — there aren't any motivating speeches needed for this team.

N IS FOR NEW FACES

Heading into the 2011 season, 16 programs have a new head coach at the helm: Fred Fernandes (Roy), Les Hamilton (Hunter), Steve Coburn (North Sanpete), Tyler Anderson (Orem), Randy Johnson (Bonneville), Aaron Whitehead (Olympus), Bob Stephens (Alta), Don Kenyon (Ben Lomond), Robbie Dias (Diamond Ranch), Alex Gehrke (Granger), Casey Miller (Hillcrest), David Hastings (Lehi), Devin Smith (North Summit), Kyle Brady (Tooele), Craig Davis (Wasatch) and Nick Longshore (Woods Cross).

O IS FOR OUTRIGHT

Fremont, Cottonwood, Bingham, Lone Peak, Timpview, Springville, Park City, Juan Diego, Delta, San Juan, Millard, Duchesne and Monticello all claimed outright region titles with undefeated records in 2010. Those 13 programs combined for an overall record of 126-29 and four state championships.

P IS FOR PRESEASON

Yeah, watching teams migrate through region play is a treat — but who doesn't like a little mix-up in their regiment? Here are the top 12 preseason games: Bountiful at Lone Peak, East at Pine View, Fremont at Jordan, Timpview at Alta, Juan Diego at Skyline, Mountain Crest at Lone Peak, Springville at Spanish Fork, Bingham vs. Alta, East at Fremont, Lone Peak at Highland, Pleasant Grove at West Jordan and Cottonwood at Bingham. Be sure to check deseretnews.com for dates and times.

Q IS FOR QUESTION MARKS

There are many simple questions floating around the high school football universe. How will Bingham perform after the "dream team"? Will Juan Diego ever relinquish the 3A title as it soars for four? And how will Timpview respond after being dethroned from the 4A crown for the first time since 2005?

R IS FOR REALIGNMENT

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