2013 high school football preview: Layton Christian Eagles will make jump to 2A football
Note: Layton Christian finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2012 and was fifth in 1A North with an 0-4 record. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
LAYTON — Former Granger head coach Doyle Holt wasn’t looking for a head coaching gig, but when the Layton Christian job opened up, he was drawn to it.
There was just something about the culture of the school that was intriguing. He wasn’t turned away by Layton Christian’s 3-7 record in 2012, but more drawn to the stringent academic standards of the school.
“I really do like the environment at the school. It’s legitimately an academic institution. They’re trying to get kids to college, and that was one of my big things at Granger — we were often trying to get kids eligible,” said Holt. “Our college placement rate is something like 91 percent.”
The challenge for Holt is finding a way to win more than just a handful of the school's football games, which certainly won’t be easy with Layton Christian making the jump from 1A football to 2A football.
The Eagles are obviously a small school, and numbers are an issue, but that’s even more so at a private school like Layton Christian. Numerous players — including several who are projected starters — have never played football, and Holt had to instruct them on proper pre-snap stances during the first day of team camp this summer.
Even though many of the kids are new to football, they’re athletic, which gives the coaching staff a decent foundation to work with.
“Athletically we have some good kids, and we’re probably OK at our first one through 1 1/2 kids deep, but after that we go down in a hurry. If we keep everyone healthy I think we’ll be competitive,” said Holt.
The Eagles will likely be very overmatched in games against teams like Duchesne, Millard and South Summit this season, but as the players’ understanding of the game improves Holt is hopeful they’ll be competitive in the other games.
Tackling will be key.
“They didn’t tackle very well in the past. We need to improve tackling, and we’re going to tackle every day in practice, maybe not necessary to the ground, but it’s something we’re going to concentrate on,” said Holt.
Offensively, the two biggest areas of focus heading into the season will be turnover ratio and yards on first down, something he’s continually reminded his players about this summer.
“If we end up in third-and-long a bunch in those first few games we’re going to get throttled,” said Holt.
That was definitely a problem in last year’s 42-13 loss to Duchesne, a game in which Duchesne built a 42-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
For a young Layton Christian team that only has five seniors, a similar score line is very likely on opening night. However, Holt hopes playing an elite program like Duchesne is an eye-opener for his kids and sets a good foundation for the future.
Layton Christian Eagles at a glance
Coach: Doyle Holt is entering his first year as Layton Christian’s head coach. He previously spent two years at Granger in 2009 and 2010, compiling a 4-16 record. He’s a graduate of Winslow High School in Arizona.
(4 returning starters; West Coast offense)