High school football: Springville Red Devils 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 12:33 a.m. MDT

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Note: Springville finished with a 3-8 record and a 3-4 record in Region 8 in 2011. It lost to Herriman, 44-21, in a 4A play-in game.

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Red Devils enter 2012 with a new head coach and a desire to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season. Willy Child takes the head-coaching reigns from Scott Mitchell, who had some significant success.

Mitchell led the Red Devils to deep playoff runs in 2009 and in 2010, but now it's Child's turn.

Child has been part of the football staff for the past 12 years and worked as Springville's head baseball coach before being named Mitchell’s replacement. He’s someone who is well aware of the Springville community and the potential of its football program. After all, he played at the school before eventually becoming a coach here.

“I love this community and this school,” said Child, who has been coaching at Springville for 18 years. “Coach Mitchell is a good friend of mine and I know the program well, so we’re not going to change all that much. Coach Mitchell leaves some big shoes to fill and hopefully I can help them do some good things here.”

Mitchell proved that good things can be done at Springville, as he advanced his team to the 4A state semifinals in 2009 and then to the state finals in 2010.

Those successes raised team expectations considerably for 2011, but after stumbling out of the gates with six straight losses those expectations were left unmet.

“We struggled with our depth a lot last year,” said Child. “I think we’ll improve some on that, but we’ll still have to ask some guys to play both ways. We have some key contributors to last year’s team returning, so we’re confident that we will improve.”

Child has some key guys returning at key positions beginning with senior Quinn Almond, who started last season at offensive tackle. Other key seniors include quarterback Payton Thorpe, running back Stephen Nelson and wide receiver Dawson Pederson.

“Not all of those guys started last year, but all of them have some real good experience,” said Child. “Payton Thorpe played in some key games for us last season and played really well, so I like our senior leadership and they should help a lot with our younger guys.”

Although the mantle of starting quarterback is daunting for Thorpe, he feels he’s ready for it.

“It’s sort of weird not having guys around to look up to, but we all realize that we’re those guys now,” said Thorpe. ‘We’re very excited for this season and we think we’ll improve a lot from last year, but we just need to keep working hard and staying together as a team.”

Former Springville head coach and defensive coordinator Doug Bills will be taking over the offense while Child will handle the defensive-coordinating responsibilities.

“Coach Bills obviously brings a ton of a experience and he’ll be doing some new things there,” said Child. “I’ll be keeping the defense pretty much the same.”

For Springville to reach the top of Region 8 again it will have to out-duel a lot of teams that caught people from surprise a season ago. Child believes his team will see improvement, but expects everyone in his region will be improved as well.

“Timpview is still the top team, but I think Timpanogos will be very good, and now you have Maple Mountain who improved a ton last year and they should be good again,” said Child. “Orem will be very good again and just everyone in this region is a team you’re going to have to be ready for every week.”

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