High school football: South Summit, Millard favored in revamped 2A North

Published: Monday, Aug. 5 2013 11:25 p.m. MDT

Of the three, if anyone is capable of competing with the upper-echelon teams in 2A North it’s Summit Academy.

Deseret News projections for 2A North football teams in 2013

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. SOUTH SUMMIT: Expectations are sky high in Kamas, and it’s easy to see why with good team speed and great size for 2A. If the senior leadership progresses the way coach Jerry Parker hopes it does, anything short of a region title would be disappointing. The Wildcats return four starters on offense, all on the offensive line as Brad Richins, Breydon Crystal, Victory Thornton and Ty Clegg were all major contributors a year ago. South Summit is very deep at running back too with Keyton Gines, Colby Averett and Carson Freestone all expected to have big seasons. Averett will likely anchor the defense at linebacker, with Caden Christenson also expected to be a strong linebacker. 2012 RECORD: 8-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost to San Juan in 2A semifinals.

2. MILLARD: The Eagles have some size in the trenches for the first time in a few years, but it’s young size and the coaching staff is excited to see how the youngsters develop. Ironically enough, returning linemen Nathaniel Wade and Erick Alcala will probably be the two smallest starters on the line. Millard was the second-highest scoring team in 2A last year at 35 ppg, but it stalled in big games. The coaching staff hopes new quarterback Skyler Cranney can help increase that efficiency with the passing game. Running backs Rudy Alcala and Dayton Komarek are the front-runners to carry much of the load on the ground. Defensively, linebackers Alcala and Wade were the third- and fourth-leading tacklers on the team a year ago. 2012 RECORD: 8-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Grand in 2A quarterfinals.

3. NORTH SUMMIT: It was all downhill for the Braves last season after losing their starting quarterback in Week 1. The frustration of that 2-8 season could pay off this season. Ryan McMichael was thrust into the starting QB role as a sophomore last year, but this year he’s got a season of experience to go along with his athleticism and leadership. He also has a strong arm, and the Braves may throw more as a result. North Summit’s other offensive returning starters are linemen Austin Simister and Brenz Staples. Defensively, Trevor Hale will be a three-year starter at linebacker, while Hayden Lewis, Robert Anderson and Zach Simister are expected to contribute on the line. 2012 RECORD: 2-8. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Richfield in 2A first round.

4. SUMMIT ACADEMY: The Bears enjoyed a relatively successful inaugural season in 1A last year, but the jump to 2A in year two certainly presents some new challenges. Coach Scott Gorringe is excited for those challenges, which is easy to understand with eight returning starters on each side of the ball. Junior Hagan Hines will start at quarterback after playing primarily ag running back a year ago. Fellow junior Joe Denos will see an increased workload at running back because of the position change. Junior receiver Steven Harp and junior tight end Hayden Henriod combined for 583 receiving yards and 10 TDs a year ago, talent that Hines will certainly try and take advantage of. 2012 RECORD: 5-5. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Monticello in 1A quarterfinals.

5. GUNNISON: Tyson Moosman takes over at quarterback for the Bulldogs, and he’s got a tiny bit of experience in front of him and at receiver to help with the transition. Dagan Thomas and Jacob Hatch combined for 23 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. With Gunnison hoping to throw even more this year, that production should go way up. Jayden Rogers takes over at running back for Braden Harris, and you can bet he’ll enjoy running behind 270-pound offensive lineman Ryker Pickett, Gunnison’s lone returning starter on the line. Defensively, Rogers is the only returning starter, but the coaching staff is excited about the potential contributions of linebacker McKade Cox and defensive ends Austin Pickett and Jordan Sorensen. 2012 RECORD: 3-7. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Beaver in 2A first round.