High school football: Pleasant Grove Vikings 2014 preview
Note: Pleasant Grove finished with a 9-3 overall record in 2013 and tied for first in Region 4 with a 4-2 record. It lost to Jordan 62-42 in the 5A quarterfinals.
PLEASANT GROVE — Tight games always seemed to go Pleasant Grove's way in 2013, and for good reason. The team was filled with strong senior leadership — players who knew when and how to step up when the Vikings needed it.
With those senior leaders now gone, Pleasant Grove will be hard-pressed to match last year's success in tight games this season.
"Hopefully some guys can step up," said coach Les Hamilton. "You never know how kids will respond until they get there and we'll find out soon enough. Last year we had it and we're hoping for it this year."
Pleasant Grove enters the 2014 season with some good experience formed mostly by juniors — many of whom played last year as sophomores, according to Hamilton.
"You look down our roster and there's guys going into their junior year everywhere," Hamilton said. "That's good in that most of them have played, but you still miss that senior leadership a bit potentially. We do have some good seniors, though, and we'll be counting on those guys."
"I like having two senior leaders on the offensive line," Hamilton said. "We lost some very good linemen last year, but I think we'll be fine there with those two guys and some others."
At quarterback, Hamilton believes he has three viable candidates, beginning with Miller and ending with a player who presents a very unique coaching challenge.
"My son, Isaac Hamilton, is a sophomore and looking like a good quarterback," Hamiton said. "I've been coaching a long time and it's a challenge I've never encountered and it's hard. I'll admit it's very hard knowing how to coach my son at such a vital position, but I'm learning and hopefully we do it right."
Along with Miller and Isaac is junior Matthew Wilde.
"I like all three of them and believe we're going to be fine there," Hamilton said. "Finding the right one will be a challenge since all three of them are so good."
"We feel good about the receiver position and the ability of our guys to make plays," Hamilton said.
On defense, leadership and stellar play is expected of junior linebackers Dallin Pili and John Raas, along with Doman, who also plays defensive back with senior Tre Johnson.
"I really like our linebackers heading into the season," Hamilton said. "Pili was a standout last year and we really expect big things from him this year. He's a great athlete."
Hamilton is now in his third year at Pleasant Grove and believes his teams have seen improvement every year. The goal is obviously to keep improving and go further in the playoffs this time around.
"I expect good things from the team this year," Hamilton said. "Every year the system gets more and more established and we're ready to go. The region is tough, but if we get that great leadership we had last year I think this team can do some great things."
Pleasant Grove Vikings at a glance
Coach: Les Hamilton is entering his third year at Pleasant Grove after coaching at Alta High, Hunter High and Grantsville High. He has a 92-45 career record. He won two state championships while at Alta, and he’s from Petaluma, California.