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Note: Roy High finished with a 4-5 overall record and was sixth in Region 5 with a 1-4 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.
ROY — Phase 2 of the Roy High Football Rejuvenation Project is under way.
And chief architect Fred Fernandes feels like steady progress is being made toward completing that long-awaited project — hopefully someday not too far down the road.
"I think we were competitive last year," said Fernandes, a former multi-sport star at the school who's beginning his second season as the Royals' head coach. "We won four games and, realistically, I thought we were in four more.
"From where we started when I got here, I was encouraged with the progress we made. We've had a great offseason, and we're almost where a high school football team should be now. We've got a couple of guys who really took care of the weight room, so we've gotten stronger.
"We don't have any track guys or any speed demons yet, but we've got a couple of guys that pretty quick," said the guy they once called "Fast Freddy." "The commitment still isn't quite where it needs to be for us to be a championship team. It takes awhile to change that."
While pointing out that he's disappointed some of his players still aren't sure they want to make football their top priority, Fernandes feels like this once-proud program is turning the corner toward regaining respectability and prominence.
After all, last year's win total was the most at the school since 2007 and followed a dismal three-year stretch from 2008-10 when the Royals won just three games —combined.
Of course, last year's team wasn't without its shortcomings. While the defense did a decent job in most games, Roy managed to score a total of just 30 points in its five league games — 17 of those coming in the season-ending victory over Mountain Crest — and put a paltry average of less than 10 points per game on the scoreboard for the season.
They're hoping to remedy that with a revamped offense and renewed enthusiasm in a program that hasn't had a winning season in a couple of decades.
Sophomore Tyler Skidmore and senior Garrett Bowman are battling for the starting job at quarterback, and both of them will see playing time this year.
"Bowman has come a long ways and he's had a lot of bright spots," Fernandes said, "but so has Skidmore."
At running back, junior Justin Weaver and senior Hunter Grimes will share the position, while seniors Austin Terry and Grady Hansen will rotate at fullback.
"He's our best player — period," Fernandes said of Hansen, who only played a total of six plays last year due to injuries to his foot and back. "As a sophomore, he was something special."
At flanker, senior Connor McGuire is a returning starter, and he's backed up by promising sophomore Logan LaRose and senior Ryan Taylor.
"He's going to be a real dynamic player for us," Fernandes said of LaRose, a member of an outstanding group of sophomore athletes who have the Royals' head coach eager to see what they can do when they grow and mature a little more.
"When this sophomore class becomes seniors, we're going to be really tough to beat," he said. "There's just a bunch of really good players in that class."
The Royals have a couple of returning starters at wide receiver in senior David Hadley and sophomore Nathaniel Jones, who Fernandes calls "a dynamic player who's going to be a real asset for us."
At tight end, seniors Braxton Patton and Noah MacInnes will split time along with solid sophomore Cody Hobbs.