SPANISH FORK — Spanish Fork is making the leap from 3A to 4A this season, but don’t let that fool you.
By most estimations, the Dons belong.
Just ask coaches around the region — the same coaches who voted Spanish Fork to finish second in region in this, its inaugural season.
“I think we’ve done some good things here and I’m glad we’re known to have a solid program — that’s what you want,” said Spanish Fork coach Kirk Chambers. “We got to the championship game last year, and I think that was a good measuring stick for our program, but none of that matters this year. It’s a new year.”
It’s a new year in a brand new region, but Chambers feels it’s a region Spanish Fork is well-suited for.
“We’re smaller than just about every school here, but it feels like we’re where we should be,” Chambers said. “There are so many natural rivalries here with teams like Springville, Maple Mountain — Salem Hills is just down the street. We certainly won’t have to travel as much in this region, so that’s nice.”
The Dons, who lost to Dixie in the 3A championship, lost a lot of starting talent off last year’s squad but return quarterback Jason Money.
Money, a junior, provided 2,768 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air and 491 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
“It’s always good to have your quarterback, but especially when that quarterback is someone as good as Jason,” Chambers said. “He worked really hard in the offseason, and I don’t know how you improve on over 3,000 yards, but he’s doing everything he can to improve.”
Money will be joined by a promising group of receivers led by junior Joey Anderson and senior Bennett Bradford.
“We lost Cameron Money, obviously, and a lot of other guys, so we’re definitely going to need guys to step up,” Chambers said. “I like our group, they have a good quarterback — a great quarterback, so we’ll see soon exactly what we have.”
The defense will be led by senior defensive back Trevor Perkins and defensive lineman Charles Si’itata.
“We lost a lot defensively after last season, but I like some of the incoming guys and I think we’ll be okay there if our secondary comes together and if we get good line play,” Chambers said. “We have a lot of respect for every team in our new region and we expect a high level of play from week to week, so you’re going to have to be solid in all areas.”
As for Chambers, who played seven years in the NFL, he’s settled in and happy to be coaching at Spanish Fork.
“I never had more fun playing football than I did when I was in high school,” Chambers said. “I love the game at this level, and to just be a part of it — it’s just an honor and a privilege for me and I plan on doing it as long as they’ll have me. At least that’s how I’m looking at it now.”
Spanish Fork Dons at a glance
Coach: Kirk Chambers is entering his second season coaching the Dons. The Provo High graduate spent the past seven years playing in the NFL.
(Spread; 4 returning starters)
The key for Spanish Fork will be along the offensive front — a position Chambers has quite a bit of knowledge about having played the position at the highest level. At running back, the Dons will likely feature junior Taylor Noles.
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