Note: Juab finished with a 6-5 overall record and was fourth in Region 12 with a 2-3 record in 2011. It lost to Stansbury, 48-21, in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
NEPHI — Despite enrollment numbers that suggest Juab’s football team shouldn’t be successful in 3A, it continues to hold its own.
In the three years since making the jump from 2A, the Wasps have made the playoffs all three years, including advancing to the quarterfinals in 2010.
Even last year, despite falling to Stansbury 48-21 in the first round, Juab was right there at the half — leading the explosive Stallions 21-20.
Heading into the 2012 season, Juab coach Mike Bowring really likes how his team is coming together and is anxious to get the season underway.
“The reason I feel good is the way the kids have been working,” said Bowring. “The kids have done a good job in the summer lifting, and at camp we improved every day. We’re optimistic, which I think most people are at this point. They’ve been working hard, and we’re excited to see what we can do.”
Like most teams at this time of year, Juab has a lot of holes to fill because of graduation, though Bowring doesn’t seem as concerned about that reality as in past years.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t question marks, however. The quarterback position is still unsettled. The offensive line is almost entirely brand new. And the defense must find a way to get tougher against the best teams in 3A.
Senior Chandler Vance is the lone returning starter on the offensive line. A center last year, he’s making the move to right tackle this year. Bowring has been pleased with his transition, and now it’s up to the other four starters around him to fill in and rise to the occasion.
“So far they’ve done a good job. They’re picking it up quick, but nothing can replace experience,” said Bowring.
The line will likely be protecting junior quarterback Jeff Rowley. Juab’s kicker the past two years, Rowley is No. 1 on the depth chart heading into two-a-days. Sophomore QB Nick Robbins has looked very good this summer though, having honed his skills at various summer passing camps.
Regardless of who’s taking snaps, wide receiver Curtis Orme is who they’ll be looking for. Last season Orme led the Wasps with 561 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
“Offensively he’s legit. He runs good routes. He’s good,” said Bowring, who really likes the collective talent at receiver.
Fullback is where he’s a bit more concerned, a position that may be in flux all season.
Juab was a very middle-of-the-pack defensive team last year, an area it will need to improve on to crack the Top 2 or 3 in Region 12.
“Defensively we just have to be sound and disciplined. Those are things we have to do to get back into region,” said Bowring.
Juab Wasps at a glance
Coach: Mike Bowring is entering his ninth season at Juab with a 64-28 record. Prior to moving to Juab, Bowring was the head coach at Monticello for seven years and won a state championship in 2001. Bowring is a graduate of San Juan High School.
(3 returning starters; Spread offense)