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Note: Highland finished with a 7-3 overall record and a 3-2 record in Region 6 in 2011. It lost, 28-13, to Logan in the 4A quarterfinals.
SALT LAKE CITY — The sound echoing throughout Highland High as the football team controlled the weight room sounded like a marching army — as if a herd of giants were violently invading.
The noise almost required earplug warnings for the elderly.
"Boom!" "Bang!" The sheer amount of weight being moved from Point A to Point B during dead lifts was the culprit, and that’s exactly what the Rams are striving to be known for.
“Our expectations are to be the meanest, nastiest team in the state,” said Highland junior running back Adam Webber. “We focus a lot on that — just being the toughest team. No one is going to outwork us. We might not have the most guys and the most talent, but we’ll definitely be the toughest team.”
Highland coach Brody Benson echoed similar sentiments.
“We try and pride ourselves on being the toughest team in the state,” he said. “If we can achieve that we have the chance on Friday nights to win some ballgames.”
Highland is big — like “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid” big. Not many teams throughout the state can physically challenge Highland. The area of concern heading into Aug. 17 is a lack of experience in the skill positions.
“Every couple of years we kind of have a turnover one way or the other — obviously skill kids vs. your offensive and defensive linemen. We lost a lot of skill kids — two- and three-year starters,” Benson said. “We have a lot of good skill kids right now —good athletes — just really no varsity experience. It’s kind of tough to gauge (expectations) without being able to see how they react in a varsity situation under pressure.”
Highland isn’t exactly accustomed to having a transitioning period. There’s an unwritten, unspoken mentality that winning happens now — not tomorrow — for the Rams.
“I think there’s definitely a lot of expectations when you come and play Highland football, not only by the coaching staff, but by the kids as well,” Benson explained. “We do have guys that played in 2010 when we won it, so they know what that’s like. They really set the tempo. They see the other guys maybe dragging a little bit and not being up to par how they see practice should be. They stand up and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t how we do it.’”
The Rams will find out quickly what type of year 2012 will be like. After opening against West the Rams play Cedar, Herriman and Lone Peak before heading into a grueling Region 6 onslaught.
Highland Rams at a glance
Coach: Brody Benson is manning the Highland sidelines for the seventh season. He has accumulated a 52-22 record in that time span. He’s a graduate of Granger High.
(4 returning starters; Flex-bone offense)
Highland will emphasize its strength and size in the trenches with its well-renowned option attack.
In the recent past the Rams have relied heavily on the fullback, but with Adam Webber slated to receive the bulk of the carries he adds a different dimension with his ability to elude defenders and break loose around the corner.