High school football: Ben Lomond Scots 2013 preview

Published: Monday, Aug. 12 2013 9:45 a.m. MDT

Pepper Zeluf talks 2013 Ben Lomond football

NOTE: The Scots went 0-6 in Region 11 play and 0-9 overall in 2012. They did not qualify for the 3A state playoffs.

OGDEN — The odds are severely stacked against Ben Lomond High, and first-year head football coach Aaron Dooley knows it.

After all, the Scots have won just three games over the last four seasons combined; they haven't had a winning season since 2000; and they've reached the state playoffs just once since then.

But this job is about much more than football or winning games, and Dooley knows that, too.

It's about teaching young men how to make good choices and to be accountable for their actions, learning valuable life lessons, focusing on the importance of academics, and striving to become better people, as well as becoming better football players.

Dooley, who coached freshman football last year, is Ben Lomond's fourth head coach in four years — not exactly a recipe for continuity. But he strongly feels that if he can get the young men in his program to work hard at all those other important non-football tasks, the football part will take care of itself.

"Right now we're talking about a team that's won three games in the last four years," Dooley said of the Scots, who were 0-9 last year, 2-7 in 2011, 0-9 in 2010 and 1-8 in 2009. "So there's certainly some room for improvement as far as what's happening on the field.

"But the biggest thing and the biggest disappointment to me is that — the field will speak for itself — the place where our kids are really failing is all the other stuff, the character stuff, and what they're doing in the classroom and what they're doing off the field.

"It's my belief that if they're going to go through and take care of the stuff in the classroom and be good citizens in their community, they're gonna compete on the football field," he said. "And competing on the football field isn't going to be nearly as hard if we can take care of those things. ... We're going to work very hard at making them better football players but, more importantly, we're going to work very hard at making them better men. ... And if we get to win some football games along the way, that's gonna be even better."

Whether it be eligibility issues pertaining to poor academic performance, attendance issues, family problems or financial woes, the Scots don't have the kind of numbers that they need in the football program.

But Dooley has high hopes that that will change as they implement new programs that will address those problems and eventually resolve them.

"We're going to show them what hard work is and how you work hard and how you use goals and hard work to push yourself forward," Dooley said. "We're going to put those things on the field and help them see how they apply into their everyday life.

"We're gonna do our best to make sure that they have the ability to go out and be productive citizens in their community when they're done here.

"What is really gonna be the measuring stick is how many kids are gonna still be with us in October," said Dooley, who is hoping that the 60-plus players who are in the program today won't steadily dwindle as the season wears on, which has been the case in the past. "How many kids are gonna go through everything we're gonna put them through and still be there with us? ... We know that through the process, the kids who are still with us are gonna be on track and are doing the right things and ready to move forward."

That said, Dooley is excited to get his first season as a head coach started.

"We're gonna win some football games," he said of his team, which will employ a pistol-spread offense and a 4-2-5 scheme on defense.