Big Kyle Christiansen, a 6-foot-3 junior who weighs in at over 300 pounds, is a returning starter who anchors the offensive line at his tackle spot. He's joined by returning starter Jon Boam at guard, senior Brandon Freston at the other tackle spot and senior center Jaden Maughn.
Over on the defensive line, Christiansen will be a fixture at tackle, joined by seniors Trevor Hulse, Arrington Evans and Andy Oakden. Huerta, Taylor and Larson will man the defensive end spots, with seniors Stetson Weston, Colby Wengreen and Troy Netzly at linebacker, where Hall might also play at times.
In the defensive backfield, seniors Kaden Lindley, Talon Niederhauser and Smith will play cornerback, with Laulu-Pututai and senior returning starter Zac Kimball at the safety spots, where Hall will see some playing time as well.
"We have some kids that are back that are experienced," Wootton said. "But obviously we're gonna have to get them playing with some confidence in games and get them to believe in themselves. I think we have a pretty good core of kids coming back, and they're real hard workers. And we know they're going to play hard.
"Some of our skill kids like 'Mo' and Eddy and those guys, they are D-I kids who have been offered (scholarships), and any time you have a couple of those kids on the field at one time, it really spreads out defenses. I know Moroni gets a ton of attention; people double him quite a bit, which for Eddy is a real good thing because it gets him out alone. So, hopefully, they'll double both of them," Wootton said with a smile.
The Mustangs' coach cites a lack of varsity experience as perhaps his team's biggest weakness, but he appreciates their diligent, hard-working nature and figures it's only a matter of time before they'll start gaining confidence and playing up to their potential.
"The only weakness with this team would just be inexperience," Wootton said. "We have some experience; we've got kids that we think can play and be real successful, but they just need to have it proven to themselves. I think once those kids start saying, 'Hey, I think I can get this done,' we could be pretty good.
"These kids up here in this region, for whatever reason, really work hard and I think each program keeps an eye on other programs and their kids see how hard those programs work and they know they need to put in the time. We never, ever have to ask our kids to put in the time.
"They started in February and we start at 6 in the morning, and we had 120 kids there," he said. "They know that they have to, and it weeds out those kids that aren't really sure, so we have a bunch of really good, hard-working kids. Other teams in the region know our kids work hard, and we know their kids work hard, too, so we know we've got to get it going. We have great fans, great support and it's a fun community to play for, and the parents up here are great, too."
And with the great winning program they've produced over the last several seasons, it's no wonder.
Mountain Crest Mustangs at a glance
Coach: Mark Wootton begins his ninth season as Mountain Crest's head coach. He has compiled a 65-29 overall record in eight seasons at the school. He is 138-85 overall in 21 years as a high school head coach. He is a graduate of Provo High.
(6 returning starters; Spread offense)
Eddy Hall and Faimafili Laulu-Pututai certainly give the Mustangs a pair of prolific performers to draw to, and Kyle Christiansen and Jon Boam provide the makings of a dominant offensive line. If Jamison Webb can match or surpass the kind of numbers that Hall produced at quarterback last season, and guys like Gaje Ferguson, Josh Bladand, Nick Watterson, Nick Taylor, Luke Smith and Alex Huerta make the kind of contributions they're expecting from them, then Mountain Crest's offense should be just fine.
(5 returning starters, Base 4-3 defense)
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