High school football: Pleasant Grove Vikings 2012 preview

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: Pleasant Grove finished with a 3-7 overall record and was fifth in Region 4 with a 1-4 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the state playoffs.

PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove has a new head coach, and it brings back a lot of players from last year's team. Those two things have created a lot of excitement at the school, which has high hopes for this fall — and beyond.

Coach Les Hamilton has taken the reigns and has big plans for the football program he fell in love with back in 2009.

While coaching for Alta that year, his team matched up with Pleasant Grove for the region championship. The game went down to the wire, and Hamilton left feeling very impressed with the atmosphere in the stands.

“I sort of decided right there and then that if I was ever to leave Alta that I’d want to coach at Pleasant Grove,” said Hamilton. “I loved the setting, the electric atmosphere and I’ve always loved the community here.”

After spending a year in Chile, Hamilton took the coaching job at Hunter High with the understanding that if Pleasant Grove came calling he’d at least have the chance to interview for the spot. Sure enough, the Vikings came calling after the retirement of longtime coach Dale Sampson at the end of last season.

“I’m thankful for the administration at Hunter being so understanding,” said Hamilton. “I loved the program at Hunter, but my wife is from Pleasant Grove and I was commuting from here to Hunter, so it’s been great for me and my family and we’re excited about the potential of this program.”

His players are excited about the potential as well. Hamilton has brought many of the same concepts that led to two state championships in the six years he was at Alta.

One of these concepts is good, old fashioned hard work.

“He’s just been kicking our butts in the weight room and with all the workouts, but it’s a good thing and we know it will make us better,” said senior running back Colton Babb. “We’ve been so much more focused and dedicated leading up to the season this year compared to last. He’s really changed everything here and it’s a completely new attitude.”

Babb rushed for over 1,200 yards last season and is expected to be the focal point of Pleasant Grove's offense again this season.

“He’s a big, physical-type runner and I think he’ll be even better this year,” said Hamilton about Babb. “He’ll be our workhorse and I expect great things from him. He’s a big, physical runner who we expect to help lead our offense.”

Hamilton is known for his spread offense that requires good play-making ability on the outside. Hamilton believes he has good playmakers in receivers Skyler Munson, Spencer Romney and Cody Scott, among others.

“I like those guys and I also like a kid named Dallin Hatch, who will be playing at tight end and linebacker for us,” said Hamilton. “I really like Dallin’s potential and I think we’ll have more than enough players to run what I like to run effectively.”

The offensive line also looks strong led by junior Zach Dawe. “We’re big and we’re physical up front, which is always important to be effective on offense,” said Hamilton.

On defense Hamilton has retained coordinator Steve Brady.