At linebacker, junior Armstrong will start along with senior Hayden Langston, with sophomore Keoni Larson providing depth along with Banks. Unfortunately, the Lancers lost senior Farid Cortez, who would have started this season at linebacker, with a serious knee injury during preseason conditioning.
Christian Cook, a junior, will handle the place-kicking chores, with Banks handling the punting.
Coach Batchelor likes this group a lot and says his starters could compete with just about any other team in the state. However, without great numbers on their roster, a lack of depth could become a problem for the Lancers if anyone goes down with an injury.
"It's a depth thing with us," Batchelor said. "Our starters are comparable with anybody in the state, but sometimes when you get a guy hurt, especially if he's a two-way kid, our drop-off on our backups sometimes is a little bit more than it is at some schools."
And, as for the Region 1 chase for the state playoffs, Batchelor said "it'll be a battlefield, like it always is."
He said Syracuse is definitely the team to beat in this league, with Northridge and Davis again being contenders and Weber High being much-improved.
But the Lancers have their sights set on climbing the league ladder and reaching the state playoffs this year. And after getting a sampler-size taste of postseason play last year, Layton High hopes to order the full-meal deal in the postseason this time around.
Layton Lancers at a glance
Coach: Jim Batchelor begins his ninth season as head coach at his alma mater, and he has guided the Lancers a 43-46 overall record at the school. In 2007, he guided Layton to a berth in the 5A championship game.
(6 returning starters; spread offense)
With Hunter Evans starting at quarterback for the third year, the Lancers' experience level is high. Throw in four more senior returning starters on the offensive line — center Brandon Nieto, guard Landon Brown, and tackles Zerek Olson and Stetson Wood — and you can see why Batchelor might enjoy serving as the team's offensive coordinator this season. With a solid receiving corps led by senior slotback and returning starter Jordan Jaramillo, Layton should not have any trouble putting points on the scoreboard this year.
(5 returning starters; 4-3-4)
Junior defensive end Mason Ewing started as a sophomore last season, and junior Atlas Armstrong aims to live up to his strongman name at linebacker. With plenty of experience in the defensive backfield, the Lancers are hoping they can improve over the unit that allowed more than 27 points per game last year.
Coaches preseason Region 1 straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News Region 1 prediction: Third