Note: Cedar finished with a 1-8 overall record in 2012 and was sixth in Region 9 with a 1-5 record. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
CEDAR CITY — The writing was always kind of on the wall for Cedar last season.
Coach Todd Peacock said he had a great group of seniors, but there wasn’t much team speed and the squad lacked a true No. 1 fullback coming off a 2011 semifinal appearance. In another region Cedar might’ve done OK, but in Region 9 that formula equated to one victory.
Heading into the 2013 season, Peacock is cautiously optimistic even though his region is more unforgiving than ever with the departure of Canyon View and the addition of Payson.
“I feel really good about the year to be honest. I love our region. I love how tough it is. I think we got a message we’ve got to get better, and I think our younger kids are working hard to get there,” said Peacock.
Cedar will be young though, with only a handful of seniors contributing.
Peacock said that when he’s relied heavily on sophomores and juniors in years past, Cedar fared all right, but it always benefitted the following year with an experienced, senior-laden team. If that plays out similarly this season, 2013 will be an average year but 2014 should be a great year.
With all that said, Peacock isn’t about to settle for marginal because the pieces are there to be much better than that.
“We have a lot better team speed, which will help a ton,” said Peacock. “And, we’re probably bigger, stronger and more athletic on the front line this year, which will help.”
That speed and size should make a huge difference defensively, because quite frankly Cedar wasn’t that good last year. Against the top four in Region 9 last year — Desert Hills, Hurricane, Dixie and Pine View — Cedar gave up 42, 31, 47 and 42 points, respectively.
Aside from Hurricane, which runs a traditional wing-T offense, the other three utilize elaborate spread offenses that Cedar has struggled to adapt to.
“We’ve been geared up to cover running teams and 50-50 teams, but these teams that are throwing we have to evolve and change to be able to do a better job. We’re trying to do that, and we think we have some good ideas,” said Peacock.
Unfortunately for Cedar, it won’t get much early practice against passing teams as it faces Grantsville, Canyon View and Skyline the first three weeks of the season. After that it opens with reigning Region 9 co-champ Desert Hills.
That game will be at Cedar, as will region games against Pine View and Dixie —a favorable draw to help fight for a playoff spot.
Having depth at fullback will certainly help too.
Grover figures to get the early reps as he tries to follow in the footsteps of his three older brothers who also played fullback for Cedar. He’s definitely not going to wow anyone with his size.
“He’s tiny,” said Peacock. “He started several games for us last year at about 5 foot 2 and 120 pounds. He’s not any bigger, but he’s a ton stronger and he’s back, and he’s very good even though that’s what size he is.”
Tripp is a 5-foot-10, 220-pounder who Peacock calls the strongest kid he’s ever seen.