This year we’re starting a bunch of new guys in key positions out there, so we know that we’re rebuilding and we’ll go from there. —Judge coach James Cordova

Note: Judge Memorial finished with an 11-2 overall record in 2013 and was 5-0 in 3A North. It beat Manti 36-22 in the 3A championship.

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s one thing to win a state football title.

It’s a completely different story to defend that state title.

Judge Memorial finds itself in exactly that position this year after earning its first state football championship in 30 years last year.

“It puts a ton of pressure on us, no doubt,” admitted Judge coach James Cordova. “It's hard. Every year is a new year, so you can never really nail what’s going to play out over the course of the season.”

If the Bulldogs want to replicate last year's title run, it will take results like last season to get there. Theoretically, it's very possible since Judge will play the exact same schedule as last year — including its first three nonregion games versus Pine View, Woods Cross and Park City.

“I don’t think that I’ve ever had this happen in my entire coaching career,” joked Cordova.

Clearly, though, it’s going to take a lot more than assuming the results will come for a team that will have a giant target on its back in 2014.

“It’s a very different group of kids this year, and we’ll just take our opponents as they come,” said Cordova. “This year we’re starting a bunch of new guys in key positions out there, so we know that we’re rebuilding and we’ll go from there."

Offense

(5 returning starters)

There’s meaningful competition happening at Judge for the starting spots on the offense, most notably the running back and quarterback positions.

The departure of 3A MVP Kaden Elliss has left Cordova with the duo of Ayden Auer and Dillon Clark vying for the QB spot.

“They’re both great athletes, but it’s a great competition,” noted Cordova. “It’s a position on the field, and I’m a coach that goes with the guy who's being productive. If you're not getting W’s you’ve got to look elsewhere.”

Michael Kearns and Max Barnett will be handling a majority of the workload in the backfield, and will be more relied upon in 2014.

“Michael is lightning fast, and Max has great open-field moves,” said Cordova.

The RB duo will have Ricky Maka, Jacob Cline and Braden Pelly returning to anchor the offensive line. It should be duly noted that, according to Cordova, these guys are all at or above 300 pounds.

“I’ve never had anything like this before. I don’t even know how to use this size,” joked Cordova.

Defense

(6 returning starters)

Seniors Braden Pelly and Max Barnett accounted for roughly 175 tackles for Judge last season, and will be relied on heavily to set the tone on the defensive side of the ball.

“These two guys coming back seems like a lot for us, but it’s also a lot of work to fill in the holes,” said Cordova. “We had a rotation, so the remaining players have significant varsity time.”

As for the rest of the defense, it’s a work in progress, but a slew of players indeed saw some varsity time in 2013.

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Judge Memorial coaching history

2004-current — James Cordova (63-50)

2003 — Dave Livingston (3-8)

1997-2002 — Tim Clark (14-42)

1985-1996 — John Colosimo (50-81)

1978-1984 — Frank L'Etoile (60-19)

1966-1977 — Gil Cordova (93-39-1)

1955-1965 — Frank Klekas (72-23-1)

1952-1954 — George Melinkovich (15-8)

1949-1951 — Tom Mares (12-7-1)

1946-1948 — Bill Moran (11-8-1)

1943-1945 — unknown (10-9)

1942 — Paul Patten (2-5)

1941 — Wally Morse (0-4)

1938-1940 — unknown (0-11)

1936-1937 — Ken Larson (5-5-1)

1932-1935 — unknown (2-4)

1931 — Mr. Decker (0-5)

1929-1930 — Ben Lingenfelter (1-9-1)

1928 — Ralph Bodine (3-4-1)

1924-1927 — unknown (7-9-2)

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Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

2013 — Kaden Elliss, QB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2013 — Ethan Driffill, OL

2013 — Chase Radcliffe, DL

2013 — Max Barnett, LB

2013 — Sean McMinimee, DB

2013 — Andrew Matthews, K

2010 — Ben Cook, DL

2010 — Daniel Shiramizu, SP

2008 — A.J. Carman, DL

2008 — Keenyn Walker, SP

2007 — Tyson Moll, LB

2007 — Keenyn Walker, DB

2007 — Lewis Walker, SP

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2006 — Jaxon Myaer, QB

2006 — Cort Dennison, TE

2006 — Robbie Webber, DB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.