“We get a chance to compete against good teams. We believe we’re a good team, so just keep doing what we’re doing and believe in what we’re doing,” said Chapman.
Payson Lions at a glance
Coach: Jeremy Chapman is entering is fifth season as head coach at his alma mater. He’s amassed a record of 16-25 in those four seasons.
(6 returning starters; Spread offense)
A year after averaging just 19 points per game, Payson is counting on several offensive returning starters to increase that production. Without it, the Lions will likely be the lone team from the 3AA South region that misses the playoffs. Three returning starters on the offensive line is a great foundation to work with. Running back Phill Perez hopes to benefit from that experience. The tailback is small, but he’s a playmaker if he’s given space. Payson, however, is a pass-first team, and standout receivers Preston Little and Kyle Moffat are certainly the go-to guys.
(7 returning starters)
Payson faced two 3A teams that ultimately advanced to the 3A semifinals last season— Spanish Fork and Desert Hills. Those two teams scored 45 and 48 points respectively. A product of those struggles was youth, but with seven returning starters that shouldn’t be as big a concern. At the heart of the defense is junior linebacker John Harmon. As a sophomore last year, he led the team with 129 tackles. He was one of several sophomores who made major contributions, and he is someone who has a very high ceiling this season as a result.
Coaches preseason 3AA South straw poll: Seventh
Deseret News 3AA South prediction: Seventh
Bottom line: Despite all the positivity coming out of Payson, the new region is going to be extremely difficult. The team went 3-2 in Region 12 last season, and the collective competition in Region 9 is vastly superior. The Lions don’t have to wait long to see how they measure up to the new challenge. They open region play in week four by hosting Hurricane and then travel to Desert Hills for a playoff rematch in week five. It’s unrealistic to expect them to win either game, but if they’re able to compete, that could bode well later in the season in more winnable region games.
Payson coaching history
2009-present — Jeremy Chapman (16-25)
2007-2008 — Jared Woolstenhulme (6-15)
2003-2006 — Colby Knight (8-33)
2001-2002 — Jamal Willis (3-17)
1997-2000 — Rick Robbins (11-26)
1988-1996 — Bart Peery (26-52)
1984-1987 — David McKee (13-22)
1981-1983 — Bob Cook (6-22)
1956-1980 — Jim Durrant (137-96-8)
1941-1955 — Don Fuller (70-44-12)
1940 — Unknown (1-5-1)
1939 — Vern Waldo (3-5)
1936-1938 — Unknown (6-9-7)
1934-1935 — Stan Wilson (3-8-1)
1928-1933 — Unknown (26-11-4)
1927 — Mr. Wooley (3-2)
1922-1926 — Unknown (12-8-4)
1921 — Hugh Sutton (4-2)
1920 — Unknown (0-2)
1919 — Dixon Kapple (5-1-1)
1918 — Ray Monson (1-1)
1916-1917 — Unknown (9-2)
1915 — Mr. Cole (2-2-1)
1909-1914 — Unknown (6-8)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.