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Note: Cedar finished with a 6-6 overall record and was in a three-way tie for second place in Region 9 with a 4-2 record in 2011. It lost to Desert Hills, 23-21, in the 3A semifinals.
CEDAR CITY — In his many years running the option offense at Cedar, coach Todd Peacock said there’s usually a correlation between a successful season and having a good quarterback and fullback.
Last year was no different as John Ursua and Hayden Bishop combined to rush for nearly 2,400 yards to lead Cedar into the 3A semifinals for the first time since 2004.
Heading into the 2012 season, Peacock feels good about the first half of the offensive equation with quarterback Easton Weaver. He’s not quite as comfortable about the fullback spot.
Peacock said he usually tries to put his best football player at fullback knowing the guy will usually carry the ball over 20 times per game, but this season he doesn’t have the ideal person to fit that spot.
Cedar’s coaching staff will likely give several different players a chance to prove themselves this preseason, and the team’s hope of making the playoffs in ultra-competitive Region 9 may hinge on someone rising to the challenge.
Realistically, it’s no surprise that uncertainty surrounds Cedar’s football team.
Through the years Peacock has preferred to start seniors over underclassmen. As a result, his team’s rarely feature returning starters. This year is no different with only three starters back on offense and one on defense.
Despite having just one returning starter defensively, Peacock likes the group he has.
“Defense is our strength. If we do what I think we’ll do, we’ll be a good defensive team,” said Peacock.
Defensive back Jaden Hopkins is Cedar’s lone returning starter, but several talented underclassmen from a year ago get their chance this season, including fellow defensive back Mike Hourigan.
Kaylor Smith, a returning starter on the offensive line, is a projected starter at linebacker and should be the anchor of the defense. Ryan Armstrong and Cameron Williamson saw a fair amount of playing time on the defensive line last year, but even more will be expected this year. Williamson was a state champion wrestling last winter.
Collectively, both offensively and defensively, Peacock said Cedar is fortunate to have a bit more size than usual. Whether or not that translates into winning football games remains to be seen.
Just like last year, Cedar kicks off the season with three very tough preseason games. After opening with visiting American Fork, it travels to Highland and then Skyline.
Cedar lost all three of those matchups last year, in addition to dropping its region-opener against Hurricane — which it coincidentally meets in Week 4 again.
Cedar followed up the four-game slide last year by winning six of its next seven games to advance to the semifinals.
In many ways, Peacock believes this year’s team is very similar to the 2011 team — except for the statistical anomaly that was John Ursua.
“He provided us with the speed and explosiveness that we were maybe lacking,” said Peacock.
Cedar Redmen at a glance
Coach: Todd Peacock is entering his 22nd year as Cedar’s head coach and his 26th overall having spent three years at North Sanpete and one at East Carbon. He is 131-102-1 at Cedar and 153-117-1 overall. He’s a graduate of Emery High School.