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High school football: American Leadership Eagles 2014 preview

Published: Monday, Aug. 18 2014 11:53 p.m. MDT

Lincoln Henderson (20) of the American Leadership Academy Eagles returns the kickoff in Friday night prep football action.

Gary Czenkus

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Note: American Leadership finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2013 and was seventh in 2A North with a 1-5 record. It lost to Summit Academy 21-0 in a 2A play-in game.

SPANISH FORK— Since its inception back in 2006, American Leadership Academy have yet to put together a winning football season.

Under the watch of newly appointed head coach William Nixon, getting above .500 is one of the top priorities heading into the 2014 campaign.

“I think we have the talent to at least have a winning season this year. I think if we don’t have a winning season we’d be selling ourselves short,” said Nixon.

Since his tenure began with the ALA football program, Nixon has been pushing his players to live up to their full potential. Such things include a new weight-training program and getting the boys to buy into a program that is finding its way to the brighter side of high school football.

“I haven’t been with the program, but from what I’ve heard from the players' response is this has been the hardest that we’ve worked in the offseason,” said Nixon. “We have a lot of seniors and players that have bought in, so I think we’ll have a great year.”

The test begins Friday when ALA take the field against North Sevier.

“I think we’re all ready. Honestly this has been the hardest-working ALA team people have seen," said Nixon. "I really think there’s not one team we can’t beat, but I need to get all the guys believing in that.”

American Leadership Academy Eagles at a glance

Offense

(7 returning starters)

Injuries plagued the Eagles last season, which included lead running back Lincoln Henderson ending his season with a torn ACL. Then a freshman, Dallen Short took over the workload to finish the season, and he will accompany a completely healed Henderson in the backfield in 2014.

“We’re returning two running backs, and that includes senior Lincoln Henderson, who actually ran for over 800 yards, which a school record,” said Nixon. “Dallen stepped in and finished up the season, so we expect Dallen can be a very promising player for us this year. So we have two threats in the backfield.”

Quarterback Hunter Smith also saw his season end by injury, but has a chance to return for a promising senior season under center.

“We just need to get his confidence up. It’s his senior year, but I think he’ll have a great year,” said Nixon. “Against Tooele in the scrimmage he threw for over 250 yards, which is quite different for ALA. So I think we’re improving in that area.”

Defense

(4 returning starters)

Two freshmen have stood out above the rest of the defense in the eyes of Nixon this summer.

Jackson Stockley and Owen Huff have impressed the first-year coach enough to warrant their spots as starters on the defense.

“We didn’t think they were going to be contributors the first year, but in our red-and-white game Jackson had two pick-sixes,” said Nixon. “Owen, in the middle linebacker position, had six or seven sacks. They’re working hard, and have put on over 40 pounds in our weight-training program and they’re developing nicely. I expect them to be the backbone of the defense"

….

American Leadership coaching history

2014 — Billy Nixon (0-0)

2013 – Chase Ryan (3-7)

2012 — Bobby Kauo (2-7)

2009-2011 — David Lewis (6-25)

2007-2008 — Tom Fell (1-19)

2006 — Ron Olsen (1-8)

….

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

(None)

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

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