Scroll to bottom of story to see American Fork Felt's Facts
Note: American Fork finished with a 5-5 regular season record in 2011 and a 2-3 record in Region 4. It lost to Viewmont, 21-0, in the first round of the 5A playoffs
AMERICAN FORK — After a rough first season in 2010, third-year American Fork head coach Aaron Behm feels his program is moving in the right direction. His team improved by two wins last season — finishing with a 5-5 record — and could easily have gone 8-2.
A couple of one-point loses to Riverton and Cottonwood were tough to take, but the narrow defeats are something Behm hopes his players have learned from.
“A couple of plays made here and there and we win those games,” said Behm. “I think that’s one of the big steps for us now. We need to make those plays toward the end of the game when it counts. I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that better this year.”
In order to make key plays during key situations you need playmakers, and Behm feels he’ll have some good ones.
“We’re going to have a lot of speedy guys on the edge,” said Behm. “Shayden Luker, Jade Lucker, Jonah Trinnamman and Chris Boone are all guys we’re going to count on to make plays out on the edge. Blake Harman is a tough downhill runner and we have some good, solid tight ends.”
Although the group of playmakers is potent, those guys are largely inexperienced at the varsity level. Many of Behm’s expected contributors come from a junior varsity team that went 7-2 last year.
“We have a lot of good guys coming up from our JV team and from a sophomore team that went undefeated,” said Behm. “We’re young, but I feel those guys are ready to do some great things for us this year.”
Another strength offensively looks to be at offensive line where three returning starters will be catalysts. Cohesion is an important factor with any offensive line and senior tackle McKay Rasmussen feels a great sense of unity with this year’s group.
“I feel that we’ve made some serious improvements on this year,” said Rasmussen. “I feel that we’ve worked very hard in the offseason and I think we’ll be unstoppable in a lot of areas. I know that sounds cocky, but it’s how we feel. It’s the same thing on the defensive line too, and I think our line play on both sides of the ball will be the big difference this year.”
At quarterback, Riley Smith is competing with Jeremy Evans for the starting spot.
“He started for us at Lone Peak and stayed composed and confident and I couldn't imagine a tougher situation for a first start,” said Behm. “He’s someone we have a lot of confidence in going into this season as a leader and as someone who will be able to get the ball effectively to our playmakers.”
American Fork Cavemen at a glance
Coach: Aaron Behm is entering his third year as American Fork's head coach. He's amassed an 8-12 record in his first two seasons. He's a graduate of Grant Community High in Illinois.
(4 returning starters, triple-option)
Although American Fork presents a triple-option attack, it'll look to open it up a bit more this year due to its expected strength on the edges.
"We won't be a spread offense, but we'll be changing up our offense from our traditional triple-option attack a bit," said Behm. "We'll look to take advantage of the strength we feel we'll have on the outside and will open it up a lot more to get the ball to our playmakers."
(3 returning starters, 3-4)
Linebacker looks to be the strength for the Cavemen defensively, which is what you want when you operate a 3-4 defense. A lot of returning experience and some added new faces should give coach Behm an aggressive and physical defense.
"I like the guys we have coming back and we have some good new guys who should really help us," said Behm. "Colby Smith (is) at outside 'backer and then we have guys like Ryan Parry, Grant Taylor and Jordan Jones, who moved in from Provo. Jordan is a guy who can really fly around and I think our linebackers will play very well and give offenses a lot to prepare for."
In the defensive backfield AF will rely on some good experience at safety with Jake Bailey, Dallyn Holland and and Blake Harmon. The defensive line will be anchored by Mason Price, Chris Boone, and Zordan Enosa.
Coaches preseason Region 4 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 4 prediction: Fifth
American Fork exceed expectations in a tough Region 4 last year — making the playoffs while losing three of its games by the slimmest of margins. It's reasonable to expect the Cavemen to make another run at the playoffs this coming season and maybe even pull an upset against top Region 4 teams such as Bingham and Lone Peak.
Aug. 17 — at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — TIMPANOGOS, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — BRIGHTON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — COPPER HILLS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — LONE PEAK, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Lehi
Oct. 5 — at Bingham
Oct. 10 — PLEASANT GROVE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 — at Riverton, 7 p.m.
Felt’s Facts for American Fork High School
All-time record: 439-290-21 (86 years)
Region championships: 17 (1937,1938, 1939, 1942, 1953, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977 co, 1980, 1984, 1995 co, 2007 co)
Playoff appearances: 35
All-time playoff record: 20-33
State championships: 2 (1961, 1962)
State championship record: 2-2
Most played rivalry: 77 meetings with Pleasant Grove dating back to 1931. American Fork leads 48-27-2. Meet on Oct. 12.
Felt’s Factoid(s): AF played West to a 30-30 draw after three overtimes – when the game was called because of darkness, in 1984. It ranks as the highest tie game between two Utah schools . AF holds the record for Fewest Total Yards Allowed in a Championship Game: the Cavemen held Grand County to minus-2 yards in the 1962 Class B championship.
American Fork coaching history
2010-Current — Aaron Behm (8-13)
1983-2009 — Davis Knight (151-122)
1982 — Unknown (8-4)
1971-1981 — Don Mower (77-33)
1969-1970 — Tom Crittenden (11-7)
1960-1968 — Don Mower (62-22)
1941-1959 — Leo Nelson (81-56)
1929-1940 — Grant "Rags" Ingersoll (39-25)
1927-1928 — Unknown (0-8)
1908 — Mr. Wade and Mr. Pitt (1-0)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2010 — Ryker Mathews, OL
2007 — Justin Jensen, DL
2007 — Robert Lusk, LB
2007 — Jake Murphy, DB
2005 — Mike Muehlmann, TE
2005 — McKay Frandsen, LB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.