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High school football: Roy Royals 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14 2012 7:07 a.m. MDT

Ryker Mlynarski, a senior, will start at center, backed up by junior Kayne Boyer. The offensive guards are junior Pedro Quintana and senior Tyler Nicotera, and at offensive tackle, junior Kayne Boyer and senior Tim Jenkins are the starters.

"He's come a long way," Fernandes said of Jenkins. "He's gonna be a great player."

Over on defense, Terry, Nicotera and junior Wesley Brown will see action at defensive tackle, while Patton and MacInnes will start at defensive end, backed up by sophomores James Martinez and Bridger Gray.

The senior trio of Grimes, Hansen and Kennedy Linehan are the team's top linebackers.

At cornerback, seniors Jake Smith and Ryan Taylor, who's battling an injured ankle, will get playing time along with LaRose. And at safety, Jones and junior Justin Weaver will get the call.

Ben Aikuli, a sophomore refugee from Africa, will handle the place-kicking chores.

Although the Royals' program appears on the upswing, it'll be tough to climb the league ladder because of all the other good teams that Region 5 has to offer.

"The league is tougher than nails," Fernandes said. "Logan is going to be unbelievable; Mountain Crest, Sky View and Box Elder all will be good, and Bonneville's got a good thing going. (First-year Lakers coach) Tyler (Gladwell) has got a good staff — some quality guys that are helping him."

With all those potential roadblocks in their way, is it still possible for the Royals to reach postseason play for the first time since 2007?

"Absolutely," Fernandes said confidently. "I'll be very disappointed if we don't make the playoffs, very disappointed. We were a game away last year, but I still think that we should make the playoffs — we'd better.

"And when we get this thing rolling, it's gonna be something special around here."

That's when the Roy High Football Rejuvenation Project will cut the ribbon and officially stage its long-awaited grand re-opening — something Royal fans have anxiously been waiting for since the early 1990s.

Roy Royals at a glance

Coach: Fred Fernandes begins his second season as Roy's head coach. He went 4-5 in his first year at the school and has compiled a 91-48 overall record in 13 seasons as a high school head coach. He is a graduate of Roy High.

Offense

(6 returning starters; Multiple-formation offense)

While Tyler Skidmore and Garrett Bowman battle for the starting quarterback job, the receiver corps looks strong with Connor McGuire, Logan LaRose, Ryan Taylor, David Hadley, Nathaniel Jones, Braxton Patton, Noah MacInnes and Cody Hobbs providing potential pass-receiving targets. The O-line isn't huge but has enough savvy and experience to get the job done.

Defense

(5 returning starters; Base 4-3 defense)

The Royals' defense, which did a decent job last year, needs to step up and become a cohesive unit while the offense puts things together. Roy was solid on "D" in 2011 and will need more of the same this season — especially while the offense tries to get into a rhythm.

Coaches preseason Region 5 straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News Region 5 prediction: Fourth (tie)

Bottom line: Fernandes knows how to win, as witnessed by the three straight state championships his teams won at Northridge, and the way he turned around a long-suffering Woods Cross program a few years back. As a former Roy High superstar himself, he'd like nothing better than to re-energize the program where he was such a dynamic all-around athlete more than 30 years ago. Most folks figure that if anybody can turn this program around, it'll be Fernandes who gets the job done. Key home games late in the season against Bonneville (Sept. 28) and Sky View (Oct. 5) will go a long way to determining whether the Royals make good on Fernandes' quest to reach postseason play.

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