High school football: Ogden Tigers 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Note: Ogden finished with a 4-7 overall record and was fourth in Region 11 with a 3-3 record in 2011. It lost to Delta, 43-0, in the first round of the 3A playoffs.

OGDEN — For a program that lost four straight to end last season, which included a pair of shutouts, expectations are uncharacteristically high at Ogden High School this season.

It has everything to do with the solid foundation laid by third-year coach Troy Kolan.

In his first season, the Tigers won just one game in the program’s final season in 4A. Last year they took a big step forward by winning four games and qualifying for the playoffs.

“It was a huge step for us, especially coming from the year before,” said Kolan.

Incredibly, Ogden was a play or two away from potentially hosting a playoff game. It went into the final game of the regular season last year needing a victory over Grantsville to force a three-way tie for second place with Morgan and Grantsville.

Grantsville scored a late touchdown to beat Ogden 33-32, and the narrow defeat dropped the Tigers down to a No. 4 seed. In the playoffs, Delta made quick work of the visiting lower seed.

“I still have nightmares of that Grantsville game,” said Kolan.

Looking at the big picture though, there was nothing to be disappointed about 2011. Building a program is a process, and most expect this season to be better than last.

“These kids know exactly what I want and it’s been fun to watch this group in particular 'cause there are some good kids I’ve had for three years straight. They understand the program. They now know the system, and hopefully that pays off in the end,” said Kolan.

This year Ogden returns five offensive starters and four defensive starters, and the bulk of them are in the trenches.

Jusep Uscanga, Tino Reyes and Brian Saunders are all returning starters on the offensive line, while Larry Rodriguez is a returning starter at tight end.

The quartet has already been through the ringer in their brief high school careers. As sophomores, they were starters as Ogden endured a brutal season in Region 5 trying to compete with the likes of Logan, Mountain Crest and Box Elder.

“They learned a big lesson that year and then last year they made some progress, so I’m excited to see some of our line play up front,” said Kolan.

Rodriguez, a big tight end who’s also a solid receiving threat, is anxious to see that experience in action.

“Most teams that we’re going to play haven’t had that experience, and all of our guys have been playing since sophomore year,” he said.

The only other returning offensive starter for Ogden is running back Josh Shackleford, but the junior should be a big asset this year.

An injury thrust him into the starting role in Week 3 last year, and he finished his sophomore season with 539 rushing yards and four TDs. He added 187 receiving yards and three TDs.

“He’s put in more work this offseason than just about anybody, and I’m excited about physically the shape that he’s in. He’s a really shifty kid. He runs hard. As a sophomore, he was carrying people down field so I’m excited to watch him this year,” said Kolan.

Michael Richardson takes over at quarterback, and the junior has big shoes to fill after a great year from Anthony Sattiewhite last season. Richardson was the starting JV quarterback in 2011, and he has a good understanding of the offense.