Ed Moroney was a receiver last season, but he approached Roberts on his first day on the job and said he wanted to play quarterback. He’s put in a lot of work to pick up the offense, and right now Roberts said the job is up for grabs.
“It’s close, and each of them do different things well. We’ll go up to Aug. 17, and we’ll know then who our starter is,” said Roberts.
Defensively, North Sanpete ranked 10th in scoring defense last season, but that’s an area Roberts really wants to improve. Teams really struggled to run up the middle on the Hawks at Southern Utah’s camp this summer, and that’s a trend they hope to maintain throughout the season to challenge for the Region 12 title.
North Sanpete Hawks at a glance
Coach: Matt Roberts is entering his first year as head coach of his alma mater after serving as an assistant at Desert Hills the past couple years.
(6 returning starters; I-back offense)
The new coaching staff is bringing a run-first mentality to North Sanpete, and having three returning starters on the offensive line should really help. Jake Bagley is back at center while Chance O’Conner and Oliver Silva are returning starters at the guard positions. The Hawks only rushed for 11 total touchdowns in 11 games last season, but halfback Brady Walker might eclipse that total by himself this year with strong blockers in front of him. North Sanpete will periodically spread the field and try and air the ball out this year. Tight end Jake Bailey will be a mismatch for most defenses with his 6-foot-5 leaping ability, while Hunter Atkinson and Kyle Hatch are both vertical threats on the outside. The big question is: Who will be throwing them the ball? The coaching staff plans on waiting until the 11th hour to make that decision.
(7 returning starters)
The spine of North Sanpete’s defense should be the strength of the team. Defensive tackles Silva and O’Conner have picked up the new defensive schemes very well and will be tough to run on all year. Middle linebackers Kaden Poulson and Trey McRae are run stuffers as well. Poulson was second on the team last year with 59 tackles. In the secondary, Brendon Anderson and Walker are returning starters at cornerback, while Ed Moroney is back at safety after finishing third on the team with 50 tackles last year.
Coaches preseason Region 12 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 12 prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: The program appears to be in very good hands with coach Matt Roberts at the helm. He brings an authentic small-town feel to the coaching staff, but he also knows what it takes to compete at the highest level in 3A — having spent a few years at Desert Hills. It’s never easy for players to pick up a new offense and defense, but so far Roberts said the players have done exceptionally well. If that holds true throughout the season, the Hawks should challenge for a home playoff game this season. Otherwise, they’ll be in a dogfight with the bottom teams in Region 12 for that last playoff spot.
Aug. 17 — at Bear River, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — UNION, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Canyon View, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — WASATCH, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — JUAB, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — PAYSON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at Carbon, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 — at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 — DELTA, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for North Sanpete High School
All-time record: 279-406-19 (96 years)
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