Note: Hunter finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2013 and was second in Region 2 with a 5-1 record. It lost to Jordan 56-28 in the first round of the 5A playoffs.
WEST VALLEY CITY — With a total of 14 starters — seven on offense and seven on defense — returning for their senior season at Hunter High and several key contributors also coming back, there is no question the Wolverines are a heavy Region 2 favorite heading into the 2014 football season.
“We are just really looking forward to another year with the opportunity of proving that Hunter can play with anybody," third-year Wolverines coach Scott Henderson said.
Hunter has earned a pair of region championships in Henderson's short tenure, but the Wolverines are hoping for more after losing to Jordan by double digits in the opening round of last season's 5A tournament.
“Last year, we just came up short in some areas, but this year I think we’ve got a lot better leadership,” said Henderson. “I think we’ve got a greater nucleus; we were really young last year. The seniors in charge are stepping up and leading by example, but they’re also being vocal leaders, and the biggest thing is they’re being responsible.”
Neither Henderson nor the Wolverines were satisfied with how their 2013 season ended and they knew they needed to get to work.
And true, grueling hard work is exactly what Henderson has focused on.
“We are just getting better every day. That’s our goal — to get better than we were the day we were before,” said Henderson. “The kids are here; they’re on a mission and they're working really hard. So that’s our goal: just get better every day.”
And according to camp early Tuesday morning, that is exactly what the Wolverines appear to be doing.
Junior starting quarterback McKay Meidlinger is coming off his first season as a starting quarterback, and well, last year went just how you’d imagine.
Miedlinger completed 103 of his 191 passing attempts for a total of 1,825 yards, 18 TDs and a disappointing 20 interceptions.
Miedlinger did, however, bulk up this offseason and has trained nonstop in an attempt to cut down on those costly turnovers.
“I’ve been working with a quarterback trainer and working out with some other receivers, so hopefully we are going to cut that (turnover ratio) down to a two-to-one ratio,” Miedlinger said.
One of his favorite targets on the field is star TE Noah Togiai, who appears to see the same changes in Miedlinger, along with Henderson.
“I feel like he's improved all summer,” Togiai said of his QB. “He’s been working really hard this summer, and especially since last season ended. He’s really bulked up and looks pretty comfortable out there.”
As for his goals and expectations this season, the 6-foot-3 basketball standout didn’t seem too interested in anything but winning.
“I haven’t been here all summer, really, because I have been focusing on basketball,” Togiai added. “But I just want to come in and make the same impact I did last year.”
Togiai finished 2013 with 53 receptions for 859 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.
Some other offensive threats set to join Meidlinger and Togiai include breakout star RB Joseph TiaTia (94 carries, 739 yards, six TDs), Tevita Tauteoli OL/DL and Carlos Garcia C/DL.
Hunter did lose a terrific talent in RB Nathan Uhi, but TiaTia seems completely ready to embrace the role and Henderson has all the confidence in the world in him.
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