High school football: Programs are on the rise in 3AA North region
5. PARK CITY: A very young Park City team took its lumps last year, but it could pay dividends this year as QB Ian Moritz and running backs Grayson Maddux and Josh Pelegrin all return. Perhaps the biggest boost will come from sophomore Jonas Loyens, who coach Mike Shepherd believes has big-time potential to be an all-state caliber running back over the next three years. Bjorn Bornes is a move-in from Montana who will strengthen the wide receiver corps and secondary. Defensively vast improvements need to be made after giving up 62, 42 and 52 points in the final three regular-season games last year. Part of that responsibility will fall on defensive lineman Parker Shea and sophomore Eli Alford. 2013 RECORD: 3-8. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Cedar 23-13 in first round.
6. UINTAH: The Utes didn’t graduate many starters from last year, but the ones that did were the core of the team. Among the holes are at QB and two spots on the O-line to slot in alongside Vaisa Maile, Trenton Atwood and Treygan Daniels. Tyson Colton is the primary RB heading into the season, but Trevor Lofthouse has emerged this summer as someone who needs carries too. Defensively, Caden Henderson will anchor the linebacking corps, but the strength could be the secondary with Brendon Ryan, Hayden Bunderson, Jurey Beddes and Patrick Massey all returning. The lasting image the Utes have of the 2013 season was giving up 40 points to Desert Hills in the playoffs, something that’s motivated them all offseason. 2013 RECORD: 3-7. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Desert Hills 40-7 in first round.
7. BEN LOMOND: For the fifth-straight year Ben Lomond begins the season with a new head coach, but despite that, coach Eric Alder says the buy-in from the players has been great as he tries to change the losing culture. Returning seven defensive starters and six offensive starters is a good foundation to start with. Rigo Vasquez will start at quarterback, and he has two experienced receivers to throw to with Ambrosio Ramirez and Julian Gomez. Mario Anderson is the primary running back. Defensively, the Scots will lean on linebacker Israel Garcia, defensive linemen Jaime Castillo and River Phillips, and defensive backs Ramirez and Gomez. 2013 RECORD: 0-10. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.
Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer.