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Note: Grand County finished with a 2-8 overall record and a 2A South record of 2-5 in 2011. It lost to South Summit, 33-0, in the first round of the 2A playoffs.
For the Grand County Red Devils, the 2012 season is going to be the “Year of the Junior.”
Although there are a handful of seniors who will greatly contribute to the Red Devils’ campaign, the bulk of the load will land of the shoulders of a group of talented 11th graders.
“We are a pretty young team,” said head coach Dennis Wells. “We are relying a lot on juniors, and I expect them to do well.”
At the front of that pack is Jacob Francis, a speedy quarterback — he was a 2A track state champion last spring — who totaled 1,145 passing yards and 758 rushing yards a year ago.
“Last year, we had no upper class; the majority of the team was sophomores,” Wells said of a group that suffered because of so much youth. “We played a lot of those sophomores, and now they are a year older with varsity experience.”
There are approximately 10 seniors on the Red Devils' roster, half of which didn’t play much last season or didn’t play at all.
Preston Walston, a pitcher for the Grand County baseball team, is one of those kids.
“He didn’t play last season, but he is back this year,” Wells said. “He has gotten quite a bit bigger. It looks like he is going to be able to help us.”
There are also a handful of sophomores Wells thinks will be in positions to help the team this season. Those kids are Charlie DeMars-Conoly and Josh Harris, who will compete for offensive tackle positions, Koby Sobremesana, a receiver, and Ronnie Dolphin, a safety.
“We have put a lot of work in on defense to slow our opponents down,” Wells said. “(Because of that) we will probably start out a little slow, but if we can improve on defense, that will really help us down the line.”
Grand County Red Devils at a glance
Coach: Dennis Wells is entering his 11th season at Grand County, having compiled a record of 45-60. Wells is a graduate of Grand County High.
(5 returning starters; Shotgun offense)
QB Jacob Francis will be charged with guiding the squad down the field, and juniors Koi Cook, Cameron Taylor, and Layton Call will be moving the ball. The Red Devils scored just over 13 points a game last season and won just two games. With the varsity experience they gained a year ago, however, the team has the ability to improve on those numbers.
(5 returning starters)
Defense has been a point of emphasis this summer for coach Wells, as his team allowed 29.5 points per game and lost by an average of 15.9 points per game last season. Edgar Gomez, David Bentley, Trae Downard and Austin Day will anchor the defensive effort.
Coaches preseason 2A South straw poll: Seventh
Deseret News 2A South prediction: Seventh