KAYSVILLE — The Darts are to high school football what Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota are to the automobile industry and what the nearby Tasty's shop is to delicious donuts: They just keep cranking out a high-quality product, day after day, year after year.
Ryan Bishop begins his 13th year at the tradition-rich Kaysville school with another in a long line of hard-hitting teams filled with promising players who want to write their own chapter to the program's winning legacy.
"I love it here," Bishop said. "This is a great place, and I've enjoyed every second of it since I've been here.
"I know everybody's excited, everybody's obviously optimistic throughout the state. The time of year is such that all the coaches, everybody's working hard, as is our team.
"We're like anybody else, we're trying to fight and bite and scratch right now and just figure it out," he said. "We're having some real high-tempo, intense practices, and we're competing in a lot of spots. We hope some guys have got some spots solidified now."
On the offensive line, senior Ammon Wall and junior Taylor Gardner are battling for the starting center job, with senior Sam Christiansen and junior Maurice "Mo" Cannon at guard, with seniors Zach Wright and Jonah Harmon at the tackle spots and senior Matt Jessop providing depth on the O-line.
Over on defense, seniors Kawika Tupuola and Christian Hassan will man the tackle positions and seniors Chandler Rudolph and Trevor Wilkey will start at D-end, with senior Canyon Duncan in a reserve role.
The team's top cornerbacks are junior Tyler Hinds and senior Nate Ferguson, with senior Chase McKay backing them up, while the starting safeties will be seniors Matt Morrell and Bohdi Barlow, with junior K.J. Bishop providing depth.
Senior Davis Owen and junior Chase Clampett are battling it out for the varsity place-kicking role, while Ferguson will handle the punting chores.
Coach Bishop doesn't have a huge number of returning starters back from last year's 7-5 ball club that reached the 5A quarterfinals, so he realizes there's a bit of a learning curve for this year's club.
"As we get through this week and get all of our stuff installed, we're gonna be ready for a game to see where we're at," he said. "I don't know that we're going to be ready, but we're going to be ready to just go play and evaluate. We're not at that point yet, but we're getting to that point.
"We've really talked about and tried to develop some leadership in the offseason. We don't have tons of returning starters on both sides of the ball, but I think we have a few key leaders in a few key positions, and I think those guys are working hard right now to try to get everybody else to see what a high level it is to play varsity football on Friday nights.
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