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Note: Layton Christian Academy finished with a 6-6 overall record and was third in 1A during the regular season with a 4-2 record in 2011. It lost to Duchesne in the 1A championship game.
LAYTON — In 2011, the Layton Christian Academy football team wrote a fascinating two-part essay (with apologies to a certain Dickens classic with a similar name) titled "The Tale of Two Seasons."
In Part I, the Eagles struggled through an 0-4 start and, six weeks into the 2011 season, were 1-5 and seemingly headed nowhere fast.
Then came Part II, when they went on a stirring five-game winning streak that took them all the way to the 1A state finals, where their Cinderella season ended with a defeat at the hands of powerful Duchesne.
Still, they nearly wrote a great storybook ending to a season that started with much disappointment and frustration.
And now, with energetic first-year head coach Kitt Rawlings taking over the reins, the key this year seems to be to try and pick up where the Eagles left off during the second half of last season.
Rawlings, a former Woods Cross High School star in the late 1980s who went on to be a four-year starter at Kansas State, takes over a program that may be somewhat short on numbers, but is long on talent featuring several outstanding athletes.
"They're a tremendous group of kids, and we're pretty solid athletically," Rawlings said. "I'm excited about the flexibility we have with the boys to play several different positions if needed.
"That's the nice thing when you get a group like this. Even if you don't have the numbers, if you've got a group of athletes that can play in multiple spots for you, it sure makes things easy when you need to plug people in and fill holes where they need to be — because we do have several gifted kids."
Rawlings notes that some of his players — senior running back Nick Edwards, senior offensive/defensive lineman Jake Warden and senior fullback/linebacker/defensive end Colin Greenhill — have received interest from college scouts.
And the Eagles' new coach says that senior quarterback/place kicker Kyle Yockey has a strong enough leg that college coaches might consider him as a kicker at the next level — if he doesn't go play college baseball someplace instead.
"He's a tremendous athlete," Rawlings said of Yockey. "He has a D-I leg as a field-goal kicker. He hit a 57-yarder here this summer. He hit a 52-yarder the other day under pressure. And he's hitting them with ease. He gets good lift on the ball, and his execution time is really good with our snap and hold.
"He's got a chance to get a look there. Athletic-wise, he's getting looks for baseball. He's a special kid; he runs our offense, and he's got a lot of great leadership qualities. Kyle's going to be a tremendous asset for us running this program, running our offense. Kids like that make things easy for you."
At running back, great things are expected of Edwards, the defending state champion in the 100-meter dash.
"He's a tremendous athlete; he's phenomenal," Rawlings said. "He has great speed. He can flat-out run. He has great hips, moves real well and is agile. He's going to be a special ballplayer for us."
Greenhill, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound performer, shows a lot of potential at several positions.
"Greenhill's going to be hard to stop," Rawlings said. "He's a fullback/linebacker/defensive end, and he can run pretty good for a big kid like he is. He moves pretty dang well."