High school football: Judge Memorial Bulldogs 2012 preview
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Note: Judge Memorial finished with a 7-4 overall record and was second in Region 10 with a 4-1 record in 2011. It lost, 45-21, to Cedar in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
SALT LAKE CITY — As the days continue to dwindle and the minutes progressively tick toward the first Friday night of the high school football season, the Judge Memorial football program is vehemently stressing the details.
“It’s hard to get ready. It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are — you’re never prepared enough,” Judge coach James Cordova explained. “It’s a nightmare. It really is. Juggling the time restraints — we’re very diligent about getting the kids on and off the field. We’re such an academically competitive school that we have to have a two-hour practice and get the kids out the door.”
With less than a week until the opening endowment game against Tooele, the Bulldogs are busily focusing on themselves.
“At Judge we like to compete against ourselves. We want to put our best product on the field. We want to focus on what we’re doing and doing what we do right,” Cordova said. “What we do against the teams we face is a whole different ballgame but we still want to focus on us. We want to focus on execution, discipline and assignment.”
In doing so, the Bulldogs hope to try to reach some really lofty goals.
“Our first goal is to win a region championship. Our second goal is to win a state championship,” Cordova explained. “The reality is every team has those kinds of goals and aspirations. Those kind of stories are always told on the field — every team but one goes home disappointed.”
On the final session of two-a-day practices, the Bulldogs looked sharp — especially on the defensive side of the ball. For Judge, a program known for its high-octane offense, having a defensive unit it can rely on could potentially lead to a special season.
“Some of our best teams have been our best defensive teams. You got to have a combination. We had a tough time last year in a couple games stopping people. Particularly going into the playoffs at the end of the season, we had a tough time getting off the field defensively.”
Despite having stable production on both sides of the ball, Judge will still pride itself on playing “Cordova Ball” on special teams. The Bulldogs are dangerous in the return game, often setting up the offense in prime position to put points on the board.
“We always need more special teams,” Cordova said. “I’m a firm believer in special teams and we work on it. I think we work on it as much as anybody does and it’s still never where you want it to be. I think it takes three to five games to get your special teams where you want them.”
Judge Memorial Bulldogs at a glance
Coach: This marks James Cordova’s 10th season with Judge. In that time span he’s tallied an overall record of 54-50. He’s a graduate of Judge Memorial.
(3 returning starters; Spread-option offense)
Right now, Judge has yet to determine who will control the huddle. This shouldn’t raise concern to those following the program, however.