PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove appears to be on the rise.
A greater effort in the offseason, key returners at key positions and a stellar coaching staff has set expectations high for the Vikings in 2013.
“We have a really good team with a real solid offense and a solid defense,” said lineman Zac Dawe. “I love the new coaches here and I think they’re doing exactly what needs to be done to take this program far. It’s exciting.”
Les Hamilton, in his second year as coach, determined his players needed to be stronger and tougher after last season. For this reason he challenged each of his players to show up a half hour early for their 7:45 a.m. weight-training class beginning in January.
“I really felt we needed to get stronger, as a team, and we’ve done that,” Hamilton said. “I was very pleased with how our guys responded and we went up to the team power-lifting lineman challenge at Utah and took second and then they took first at BYU’s. I think that’s where you’re probably going to see the biggest improvement on our team.”
It all starts along the offensive front, for most teams, and Hamilton believes his will be the team’s strength this season.
It’s a big group that averages 280 pounds from left to right tackle.
“Zac Dawe is our leader and he’ll be playing left tackle,” Hamilton said. “He’s really put in a lot of work and it shows. His lifts have jumped off the charts and he’s one of the elite players in the state. I really believe our offensive line is going to be great and you love being big and tough there and we’re that.”
The Vikings also have some key play-makers starting with receiver Spencer Romney, who had his season cut short in 2012 due to an early injury.
“I really believe Spencer would have been all-state last year if he had remained healthy,” Hamilton said. “He runs great routes, he’s quick and we think he’s going to be tremendous for us this year.”
“Jacob is Brandon Doman’s nephew, and he’s just a little squirt, but he’s fast as lightning,” Hamilton said. “TJ Wind, he’s just a solid, solid player for us.”
Quarterback is the big question mark for Hamilton and the offense, with three players currently vying for the starting spot. American Fork transfer Jeremiah Evans will compete with Christian Miller and Hamilton’s son, a 6-foot-4 freshman.
“Quarterback is definitely the biggest concern for us right now,” Hamilton said. “The good news is we have three good players competing and they’ll have the benefit of a good, experienced offensive line in front of them, so I think we’ll be okay.”
On defense, Hamilton brought in Ron Halbert as his defensive coordinator.
“We spent five years together at Alta, when I was coach there, and he’s a fantastic defensive coordinator,” Hamilton said. “He runs a great program and I think we’re going to be much improved defensively with him in charge.”
Dawe will lead the defense along with Josh Marsh, who will lead the linebackers, and Spencer Romney, who will be asked to play defensive back.
“We don’t have the depth yet on defense to have guys play just one way yet, so we’ll be depending on a lot of guys to play both ways,” Hamilton said.
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