High school football: Wasatch Wasps 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 12:19 a.m. MDT

“He’s really worked on everything. He’s worked on his passing. He’s worked on his roll outs. He’s a stepped up quarterback this year (compared) to last year. He’s really been cranking it out, and it’s been really nice to have a better quarterback,” said Franco.

Franco is a hard-working kid in his own right. He competes concurrently in cross country in the fall, and also runs track in the spring. Coburn described him as the heart and soul of what he envisions Wasatch football becoming.

Larson was second in receiving yards last year with 423, but he was among the state leaders with 11 touchdown receptions.

Coburn is hoping to platoon most positions this year in hopes that his players will not only be fresh in the fourth quarter of games, but fresh late in the season as well.

Wasatch Wasps at a glance

Coach: Steve Coburn is entering his first season as Wasatch’s head coach. Coburn has five years of head coaching experience at Snow College (2006-2010) and nine years head coaching experience at the high school level, including last season at North Sanpete. He was 13-6 at Morgan (1988-89), 11-29 at Ogden (1994-1997) and 2-17 at Cottonwood (1998-99).

Offense

(7 returning starters; Spread offense)

An inexperienced offensive line is a bit of a concern heading into the season, but if the players continue to hit the weights, coach Coburn is hopeful they’ll be a solid unit by region play. Senior QB James DeLacenserie and senior receivers Jake Larson and Talem Franco are the obvious heart of the team, but Gavin Nebeker has had a great summer and could emerge as a third option in the passing game. Running back is a bit of a concern, with three players vying for playing time — senior Tate Berg and juniors Hunter Pella and Jon Durrant. Berg broke both wrists in a skateboarding fall back in July and won’t be ready until midseason. Durrant is a hurdler in track — a great athlete who should certainly help the Wasps.

Defense

(4 returning starters)

Wasatch gave up 40-plus points in five of 11 games last year. Getting tougher defensively has been one of the biggest focuses of the summer. Tag Baxter and Spencer Richards are returning contributors at linebacker, while Garrett Gregg, a move-in from California, will start at middle linebacker. The secondary will be anchored by strong safety Cooper Ballstaedt and free safety Josh Brown, who was a starting cornerback last year. The team still has several holes to fill on the defensive line.

Coaches preseason Region 10 straw poll: Third

Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Second

Bottom line: Coach Coburn’s No. 1 concern about this year’s team is the offensive line, and his No. 2 concern is the defensive line. It’s safe to say those two areas will make or break the Wasps this year. Realistically, with so many holes to fill, Wasatch will likely be an up-and-down team in the trenches this year. There’s no reason Wasatch shouldn’t make the playoffs, but things would need to come together better than expected to claim the region title.

2012 Schedule

Aug. 17 — at Grantsville, 7 p.m.

Aug. 24 — BEN LOMOND, 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 — at Morgan, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 — JUAB, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 — at North Sanpete, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 — UINTAH, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 — JUDGE MEMORIAL, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 — JUAN DIEGO, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 — at Union, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — at Park City, 7 p.m.

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Felts Facts for Wasatch High School

All-time record: 418-350-18 (88 years)

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