“He’s the kind of kid these 3A centers are going to have a tough time with him,” said Roberts.
Their physical presence defensively should help toughen up North Sanpete’s presence defensively, which Roberts hopes ultimately leads to some long overdue postseason success.
North Sanpete at a glance
Coach: Matt Roberts is entering his second season as head coach at his alma mater, having amassed a 5-6 record in 2012.
(2 returning starters; I-back offense)
Having Brady Wheeler back at quarterback is a great foundation to start with, and so is the return of right tackle Ryan Milne to help protect the backside of the left-handed QB. Colton Barkdull was a role player on the offensive line last season, but this year he’ll man the center position. Coach Roberts said in many ways Barkdull is the leader of the team. Wheeler’s primary receiving threats will be tight end Bob Serrano and receiver Joey Raymond. At 6 foot 2 and 200 pounds, Serrano has the potential to be a big mismatch for opposing defenses. Running back is a question mark heading into the season, but may ultimately become a strength if sophomore Spencer Applegarth settles into the position right away. He’s lightning fast, according to Roberts, and should be an all-state caliber player by his senior season.
(0 returning starters)
North Sanpete was a decent defensive team a year ago, ranking in the top 10 in 3A scoring defense at 21 ppg. None of the Hawks' starters are back, but Roberts isn’t really concerned about the inexperience. Defensive line move-ins Mark Out and Garrett Turpin will help strengthen up the defensive front, while Barkdull will anchor the linebacking corps after seeing spot varsity playing time last season. Kayden Cook will patrol one of the outside linebacker positions. Wheeler will start in the secondary at either corner or safety, and Roberts said Wheeler's intimate understanding about offenses as a QB should pay dividends defensively as well.
Coaches preseason 3A South straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News 3A South prediction: Fourth
Bottom line: For a team with very little returning varsity experience, confidence is very high at North Sanpete. Offensively, the team should be fine with a couple of returning starters and athletic skill-position players surrounding them. Defensively, the Hawks’ 11 new starters look decent on paper, but they’ve got to prove it on the field. They’ll find out right away how good they are when Bear River comes to town for the season opener. The Bears have one of the best offensive lines in 3AA, and they will be a great early test for North Sanpete’s highly touted defensive line newcomers. If everything comes together as the coaching staff hopes, North Sanpete will certainly be in the hunt for a region and state title later this October and November.
North Sanpete coaching history
2012-current — Matt Roberts (5-6)
2011 — Steve Coburn (4-7)
2008-2010 — Casey Jensen (6-24)
2005-2007 — Ben Morley (13-19)
2004 — Blake Turner (6-5)
1991-2003 — Mark Wootton (73-56)
1988-1990 — Todd Peacock (17-11)
1987 — Gary Stears (2-7)
1985-1986 — Dale Barker (1-15)
1984 — Dave Peck (7-3)
1979-1983 — Paul Tidwell (16-30)
1974-1978 — unknown (13-36)
1973 — Roger Tree (3-5-1)
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