Note: Sky View finished with a 9-3 overall record in 2013 and was second in Region 5 with a 5-1 record. It lost to Timpview in the 4A quarterfinals.
SMITHFIELD — The Sky View Bobcats didn’t need any help finding motivation for the 2014 football season.
“Our kids already felt like they had something to prove,” said Sky View coach Craig Anhder.
So the fact that both the coaches poll and the Deseret News predictions have the Bobcats as Region 5’s No. 3 team just fuels a fire that was already burning.
“Those polls kind of help that chip,” Anhder said. “It gives the kids a little bit more fire in their eyes, and maybe they’re more intense and practice with more focus.”
Last year the Bobcats were predicted to finish fifth. Instead, they finished second behind undefeated Logan. And while the team lost a lot of its veteran players to graduation, the Bobcats return enough talent that they feel confident about this season’s challenges.
“Our kids believe we’re better than last year,” Anhder said. “We were chosen to finish fifth last year and finished second. I think we’re pretty eager to get out there to prove to everybody what we’re capable of.”
Offensive success will begin with senior linemen Colton Durrant and Tyler Downs.
“They’re great interior linemen,” said Anhder. “They understand the game and the intensity it takes to be successful.”
Junior Garrison Beach will likely be the team’s quarterback after a summer of impressive performances.
“He’s performing very well,” Anhder said of the first-year starter. “He’s connecting well with receivers.”
Defensively, the Bobcats will rely on players like junior defensive end Max Christensen.
“He is stronger than last year and faster,” Anhder said. “He is another returning starter that has a lot of passion.”
The Bobcats will be young with a lot of juniors in the starting lineup.
“I think they have a belief that they can accomplish their goals,” Anhder said. “They’re tough, hard-nosed kids, and they’re not afraid to be physical. Our receivers aren’t afraid to block; our corners aren’t afraid to tackle. They’re doing a very good job and I appreciate that.”
Ander said having a roster full of underclassmen makes every day an adventure.
“Every day after practice I go home ecstatic and a little frustrated,” Ander said with a laugh. “Our strength at the moment would be our offensive and defensive lines. We have good size, good athleticism.”
The roller coaster isn’t always a bad thing, especially early in the season when all of the challenges come from within the program.
“If the offense did well, it mean the defense slipped,” Anhder said. “If the defense has a great day, it means the offense struggled.”
While the team doesn’t have a long list of returning senior starters, it does have a lot of quality players.
“The one thing I really enjoy is that we have good depth,” he said. “As we play ourselves, we’re challenging ourselves. Every day in practice is very, very competitive.”
The coaching staff has created a system in which players compete through the year, even at practices.