In the summer before his freshman year, a cyst was discovered on his brain. The cyst, which doctors said was never life threatening, has since been removed and after sitting out the past two seasons Stevens is poised to make big contributions.
“He’s been a real great addition, and something we didn’t think we’d have,” said Sheriff.
Just as Bullcock is trying to help replace Alcala offensively, he’s expected to replace his production defensively as well. Alcala was fourth on the team last year with 88 tackles, and Bullcock will slide right into his starting spot.
“He’s a hard-working kid, and a pretty dang good athlete. If he’ll do what he’s capable of doing we should be able to fill a pretty big hole,” said Sheriff.
If Bullock, Stevens and the numerous other first-year starters adapt to their new roles, Millard should be in the thick of the 2A race once again.
Millard Eagles at a glance
Coach: Marshall Sheriff is entering his 13th season as Millard’s head coach, and he’s amassed a 102-36 record along the way. The Delta High graduate led Millard to the 2A state title in 2001.
(5 returning starters; Inverted wishbone offense)
Coming off a season in which it was second in 2A scoring averaging 33 ppg, there are some big question marks for Millard. The most significant one is on the line, which has just two returning starters. If the line gels together quickly, running back Jesse Rhodes has a chance to break the 2,000-yard plateau. As a sophomore he racked up 1,286 yards and last his production jumped to 1,723 yards. Tanner Slavens is another key returning starter at quarterback. Even though the Eagles don’t throw much, when they do Slavens is a solid passer and he has a great understanding of running the offense.
(5 returning starters)
The voids to fill defensively aren’t quite as significant as the offensive concerns. Jeremy Aleman returns at middle linebacker after racking up 115 tackles a year ago, while new linebackers Dakota Bullock and T.J. Stevens are expected to make strong contributions. DonE Fullmer is a bulldog on the defensive line — a big reason Millard was second in 2A last year surrendering under 10 ppg. The biggest concern defensively is in the secondary. If the personnel doesn’t emerge as Sheriff hopes, he might have to slide Stevens or another linebacker to safety, which would then create a void at linebacker.
Coaches preseason 2A North straw poll: Third
Deseret News 2A North prediction: Second
Bottom line: Year after year, Millard is one of the top teams in 2A. It’s hard to imagine that being any different this year, especially with an elite back like Rhodes returning. However, the lack of experience on the offensive line is definitely a concern. The goal every year at Millard is to win a state championship, something that’s eluded the program for 10 years. If last year’s team, which had returning starters at almost every position, couldn’t get the job done, the 2012 Millard Eagles will have their work cut out for them.
Aug. 17 — at Parowan, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Delta, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — NORTH SUMMIT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at South Summit, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — GUNNISON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — at Emery, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at American Leadership, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — at North Sevier, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — MANTI, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — Playoffs