High school football: Syracuse Titans 2012 preview

Published: Friday, Aug. 3 2012 12:33 a.m. MDT

And at offensive tackle, junior Jace Purser and senior Cardon Malan will start there, backed up by juniors Spencer Woodhall, Braiden Tovey, Austin Shelter, Dallas Besaw, Allen Goodman and Hunter Hiatt and seniors Mark Blamires and Brandon Lancaster.

Over on defense, Craig and Tovey are the likely starters at defensive tackle, backed up by Call, Naylor, Goodman and seniors Tyler Ralphs and Dallin Alofipo. Malan and O'Camb will start at defensive end, with Purser, senior Brock Brewer and junior Spencer Woodhall in reserve.

The likely starters at the linebacker positions are German, Kealamakia and Naisbitt, with Vigil, Lee, Taurone, Kiwa Mo'o, Barney, Haddock, Nielson and Martinez providing plenty of depth.

The Titans' top two cornerbacks are Garver and Mitchell, with Chapman, Ostler, Skidmore, Spencer, Homer, Watson and Roberts also available there.

And at safety, Koa Mo'o and Fonua will start, backed up by Bush, Chadwick, Gooch, Morris and Olsen.

Jones certainly likes his team's chances this year, but he's not about to start blaring that old rock anthem "We are the Champions" in the locker-room just yet.

"I think we're gonna be pretty good, but you don't want to jump out there and say so, and then you don't want to underestimate us, either," he said. "We've got good skill coming back; it's our line that we're trying to develop right now.

"The skill positions would be the strength of our team and the O-line and D-line has got to come along. The chemistry has got to come along and blend.

"We've got really good kids with a really good attitude," Jones said. "And they've really hung in there all summer, been to our camps and conditioning and 7-on-7s and practices. They really seem to get along and mesh good with each other. We've got good team unity."

Jones was pleased with the way his team finished up last season, especially because it gave him and his coaches a couple of additional weeks to practice and work with the kids as they made their Cinderella run through the playoffs, only to come up just short of reaching the big ball.

"Just being in there and going to the playoffs is huge for us," he said. "We finished fourth in the region, which we were disappointed in, but we weren't disappointed in our playoff run at all.

"We went into the playoffs and our kids said, 'Hey, we're not afraid of these guys,' and we took that attitude down to Alta and won. That was huge for our school, our community and our kids."

This year's Region 1 schedule, with only two home games and roadies against two of the league's other top contenders, Davis and Northridge, certainly doesn't do the Titans any favors.

But Jones isn't concerned with that.

"It definitely doesn't favor us," he said, "but I don't think our kids are worried about that. Winning on road in the playoffs built their confidence. They developed a 'We-don't-need-to-play-at-home-to-win' mentality — and we wound up just a few inches short of being in the state finals.

"Our program's headed in the right direction. We get a lot of kids out. We get a lot of participation. We have great community support. And we've got a new administration that's been really supportive of us, too.

"And I've got the greatest assistant coaches around," Jones said, mentioning staff members Dayne Faerber, Jared Martin, Mike Knight, Logan Donaldson and Cole Conner. "They are outstanding coaches."

Hard-working guys like that are certainly another big reason why the Titans look like the league's top title contender this season as well.

Syracuse Titans at a glance

Coach: Russ Jones begins his sixth season as Syracuse's head coach. He has compiled a 57-51 overall record in 10 years as a head coach and a 32-24 record over his first five seasons at Syracuse. He is a graduate of Roy High.

Offense

(4 returning starters; multiple-formation offense)

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