Only seven seniors are playing football this fall at North Sanpete and one of Casey Jenson's goals is to raise that number in future years by making football fun once again at the Mt. Pleasant school.
In his rookie year as the Hawk's coach, Jenson wants to reduce the drop out rate from a class, which he says, saw 30-40 kids participating in football at the eighth and ninth grade level, to a mere seven kids that now make up the senior roster at North Sanpete.
"We want to remind them," said Jenson, "they are out there to enjoy themselves as seniors."
With 55 total players in the program, North Sanpete will not field a JV team this year. There will be a freshman team, as 30 kids from the ninth grade are participating. But that leaves only 25 players for the varsity. Jenson's aim is to have most of those 30 kids on his team when they are seniors.
But for this year, Jenson does believe he has good individual talent. "We have really good athletes," he said. He hopes to implement his system and be ready when the season opens at Judge Memorial. He added, "I just hope it doesn't take to the third or fourth game."
To implement his system, he is planning on Taylor Ricks at quarterback. Ricks played varsity football last year at defensive back. He does have a little experience at quarterback on the JV team.
"He is a pitcher in baseball," said Jenson, "he has a good arm and he is as smart as anything. I have a feeling he will have a really good year."
In describing his team Jenson said, "We have good speed, good strength, but no size."
He said the biggest kid on the team goes 220 pounds. He plans to keep the offense simple this year, yet he will present a number of different formations to confuse the defense.
The Hawks are not going to overpower anyone. The strongest kid on the team is Cody Irons who squats over 500 pounds. Jenson likes his mobility so much that he is switching him to middle linebacker on defense. He will remain on the offensive line on the other side of the ball.
"I think he has a chance to play college ball," said Jenson, stating the reason he is switching him to linebacker is because he doesn't have the size to play lineman in college.
The best athlete on the team is Reggie Clawson. "I have to design my offensive scheme around his abilities," said Jenson, "he is too good to ignore."
In the past he has played wide receiver and defensive back. Jenson said he may play running back this year and he will handle kick returns.
Steven Poulsen is a junior who Jenson admonishes to keep a watch out for. He is the fastest kid on the team and one of the strongest in the weight room."He is going to turn a lot of heads in the next two years," said Jenson.
NORTH SANPETE HAWKS PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW
COACH: Cody Jenson hails from Texas and played two years at BYU. This is his first season coaching and he will teach PE and weight training at the school.
KEY PLAYERS: Watch for Cody Irons making a transition to middle linebacker. In summer workouts he looks to have all the right stuff. Reggie Clawson is the man on this team. The only problem for Jenson regarding him is that he can only play one position at a time.
QUESTION MARK: Jenson is concerned whether he can correct the attitude of some players who have been lackadaisical. He said, "We need to establish good habits."
LAST YEAR: 6-5, lost in first round.
PREDICTED REGION 8 FINISH: Fourth.
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: Look for Hawks to make playoffs and maybe pop a few surprises in the postseason. Jenson commented about the athletes he has in his stable: "They can be as good as they want to be."
Aug 22 at Judge Memorial, 7 p.m.
Aug 29 BEN LOMOND, 7 p.m.
Sep 5 at Union 7 p.m.
Sep 12 JUAB, 7 p.m.
Sep 19 at Morgan, 7 p.m.
Sep 26 DELTA, 7 p.m.
Oct 3 SALEM HILLS, 7 p.m.
Oct 10 at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.
Oct 15 EMERY, 7 p.m.Oct 24 at Carbon, 7 p.m.