Cameron Lamb

ROY — The Roy Royals have recently made strides in their football program, qualifying for the state playoffs in two consecutive years.

New coach Roger Horne just wants to keep the Royals moving forward.

"Rod (Bockwoldt) did a great job of getting the ship turned around and we want to keep it going that way," Horne said.

Bockwoldt coached the Royals for two seasons and compiled a 9-13 record. Horne, a first-time head varsity coach, replaced Bockwoldt in the offseason. He doesn't have nearly the number of returning contributors as Bockwoldt had in his second season at Roy, but he believes the Royals will keep their playoff streak alive.

"We're going to be inexperienced, but we're going to be OK," Horne said. "They're all working hard and putting in the time. It's just a matter of confidence. That's something they've gotten better at the last two years. We've done things as a program the last two years that hadn't been done the last 10-12 years before."

It won't be easy for the Royals to continue building momentum as a program. Roy returns the least amount of experience in all of Region 5 this season. The Royals have just four returning starters — one skill player and three linemen — and one other contributor from last year's team that lost to eventual champion Timpview in the first round of the state playoffs.

Cameron Lamb, a receiver/cornerback, is the team's lone returning skill player and much is expected of him on both sides of the ball. He may also contribute as a returner.

"He's a leader," Horne said. "He's a guy who has to lead us because he's been there."

Tackle Trevor Nicotera, guard Skyler Buck and defensive end Garrett Curtis are the team's other returning starters. Jake Shelton also got playing time at defensive end last year and Horne is counting on him to contribute this season.

"We got talent," Horne said. "We just have to hang in there through the preseason doldrums, or valleys, and we'll be OK."

The Royals will have a new quarterback leading them in either Colton Kestle or Ben Lomond transfer Chase Moore. Kestle has experience at Roy on the sophomore and junior varsity teams. Moore led the Scots to a playoff berth last season before his family moved into the Roy boundaries.

No matter which quarterback earns the starting position, Horne and his players are confident the Royals' offense will be in good hands.

"They're working hard and getting better," Lamb said. "They're very good."

Kestle or Moore will have some quality weapons to work with in Lamb, Jake Shelton, Jesse Beeman and Weston Rees.

The Royals will rely on their defense early in the season to keep them in games. Horne was the defensive coordinator the last two seasons, and he's turned the unit over to Jim Dickson. He said the defense will be the same, and the terminology will be the same, so it will be a smooth transition for the returning players.

"I don't know that I could find anyone better to call the defense than Jim Dickson," Horne said.

Horne said he expects the Royals to be underdogs in just about every game they play in this season. Region 5, which sent two teams to the 4A semifinals last season, is as loaded as usual. The Royals have shown that they can compete in the tough league the last two years, and they want to do more than just compete this season.

"It's been nice to make it to the playoffs, but we're not satisfied," Lamb said. "We need to start getting playoff wins, making it deeper in the playoffs."

Roy Royals 2008 prep football preview

COACH: Roger Horne will make his debut as a head football coach this season. He was Roy's defensive coordinator the last two seasons, and has also worked as an assistant at Layton and Fremont.

KEY PLAYERS: (QB) Colton Kestle and (QB) Chase Moore are in competition to be the starter, and whichever player wins the job should do fine. The winner's top target will be (WR) Cameron Lamb, and will have other weapons in (RB) Jake Shelton, (RB) Jesse Beeman and (RB) Weston Rees. (OL) Trevor Nicotera and (OL) Skyler Buck will be counted on to keep the quarterback healthy. The defense will be led by (DE) Garrett Curtis.

QUESTION MARK: How will the Royals replace the large number of graduated starters? Horne believes in his team's talent, but there's no question that it will be tough for Roy to compete with such an inexperienced group. The rest of the region is loaded with returning players.

LAST YEAR: 5-6, lost in first round of state playoffs

PREDICTED REGION 5 FINISH: Seventh

POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: The Royals want more than a playoff berth. But just stretching the program's consecutive number of playoff berths to three would be an accomplishment for this team. That's probably all Roy can hope for in what should be 4A's strongest region.

2008 SCHEDULE

Aug. 22 — SYRACUSE, 7 p.m.

Aug. 29 — at Granger, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5 — WEBER, 7 p.m.

Sept. 12 — MORGAN, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 — SKY VIEW, 7 p.m.

Sept. 26 — at Woods Cross, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 — BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 — at Box Elder, 7 p.m.

Oct. 15 — BOUNTIFUL, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23 — at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.


E-mail: aaragon@desnews.com