High school football: Delta Rabbits 2012 preview

Published: Monday, July 30 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: Delta finished with a 10-2 overall record and won the Region 12 title with a 5-0 record in 2011. It lost to Cedar, 28-6, in the 3A quarterfinals.

DELTA — Whenever Delta coach Russ Henrie gets asked around town about the upcoming football season, he can’t help but be honest and express his concern about how things will come together.

Inevitably, people tell Henrie everything will be fine. It always is.

“That’s what everybody keeps telling me, ‘Oh coach, you’ll get it figured out, blah, blah, blah. We’re not worried,’” said Henrie. “But I’m worried.”

He’s worried about having only a handful of returning starters. He’s concerned there were 20 fewer kids at team camp this summer than in past years. He’s worried about whether players will accept their roles for the good of the team.

History says everything will probably be just fine. It usually is with Delta football.

Henrie isn’t prepared to rely on it blindly though.

“I don’t feel good enough about it to just count on it just coming through for us. The reason it all happens is a lot of hard work and kids committing. If we can get that then you bet I feel confident,” said Henrie.

It might take some time for Henrie and his staff to put the offensive and defensive personnel puzzles together, but if “everybody swallows their pride and plays where we need them to play and let us put the puzzle together I think we’ll be OK when the time comes,” he said.

In his seven years as head coach, Henrie has guided the Rabbits to the quarterfinals each year. Even though there’s uncertainty now, this year’s team has something in common with the previous seven teams — a bunch of hard-nosed kids who are willing to work.

“In the end that’s all the matters,” said Henrie.

Delta will need to be tough to survive a tough schedule. It opens against Manti and Millard — the returning 2A champion and runner-up — and then wraps up the preseason with consecutive road games at Stansbury, Park City and Taylorsville.

After that, it dives into region play where everyone will be gunning for the defending Region 12 champs.

“Our resolve is going to be tested. We have a tough schedule and teams are gunning to get us. We’ve got a lot of maturing to do,” said Henrie.

Returning starting seniors McKay Shamo and Dallin Christensen will be counted on immensely for that leadership on both the offensive and defensive line. Delta has some quality kids at running back and quarterback who should excel in the inverted wishbone offense, but Henrie said they won’t go anywhere if no one’s opening up holes for them.

Ezra Seui will be the feature tailback for the Rabbits.

With Christian Hatch, Kaden Hughes and Colin Christensen dominating the running game last year, Seui only had 65 carries, but he still rushed for 346 yards and five TDs. If things go well, he will see over 200 carries like Hatch last year.

Henrie hasn’t settled on who will take over at quarterback for Christensen, who was a Deseret News First-Teamer last year.

Junior A.J. Schena and senior Hunter Johnson have been battling it out for the job this summer, and Henrie said they’re both good kids.

The team got a big boost when Morgan Bogue decided to come out for football after sitting out his sophomore season last year to focus on wrestling.