High school football: South Sevier Rams 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: South Sevier finished with a 1-8 overall record and was seventh in the 2A South region with a 1-6 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.

MONROE — Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.

That about sums up the 2011 football season for the South Sevier Rams.

“The two years I’ve been here we haven’t had a game with less than two turnovers, even games we’ve won,” said coach Weston Zabriskie.

South Sevier scored 15 offensive touchdowns in nine games last season, but committed over 20 turnovers. With that ratio, it’s not surprising the Rams won just one game. Zabriskie said the goal this season is obvious — minimize turnovers.

“If we can limit the turnovers and just play field position, we’re usually in every game,” said Zabriskie.

Opponents often had the luxury of a short field to work with when playing South Sevier last year, so it’s no surprise the Rams surrendered nearly 30 ppg.

With a new quarterback who should make better decisions, an emphasis on ball security all summer and eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, things are looking up for South Sevier.

“We’re only in Year 3 of building the program, so expectations are a little higher,” said Zabriskie. “We need to learn how to win. As soon as we learn how to win we think things will go a lot better for us.”

Last year South Sevier had mild expectations, but Zabriskie said the team fell flat on its face because of its turnover epidemic.

“Every game we’d have three, four, five turnovers. When you’re losing games by 13 points and you have five or six turnovers, there’s positive to look at there but it never got fixed,” said Zabriskie.

While the offense tries to sort out its turnover troubles this season, South Sevier will rely heavily on a defense led by a couple of college recruits.

Safety Patrick Baker is a two-time all-stater, and he’s getting initial looks from Utah and Utah State. Fullback Alani Pututau is a move-in from California, and at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, he’s South Sevier’s third-fastest player. He picked up an offer from Utah State on the first day the coaching staff saw him at camp.

“We have a lot of talent, but tradition goes a long way, and we don’t necessarily have a ton of the tradition in football,” said Zabriskie.

The program has made great strides this summer in an effort to change that, with 30 kids regularly coming out and lifting weights in the morning instead of just eight or 10 like the previous two years.

Outside of some stars defensively, the biggest strength for South Sevier this season will be on the offensive line. Bryce Bair and Wyatt Anderson are both two-year returning starters, while Wyatt Hansen and Cody Parker were starters last year.

“A lot of coaches all around the state would give anything to have all their linemen back, and we have four starters on both sides of the ball back,” said South Sevier running back Garett Johnson.

Johnson rushed for 753 yards and six touchdowns on 116 carries last season. Three of his touchdowns covered long distances — 45, 70 and 95 yards.

“Garett Johnson is a kid that’s really going to come into his own. He led us in rushing last year, and he just has that big-play ability,” said Zabriskie.