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Jeff Richards
Jacob Francis

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Note: Grand County finished with a 2-8 overall record and a 2A South record of 2-5 in 2011. It lost to South Summit, 33-0, in the first round of the 2A playoffs.

For the Grand County Red Devils, the 2012 season is going to be the “Year of the Junior.”

Although there are a handful of seniors who will greatly contribute to the Red Devils’ campaign, the bulk of the load will land of the shoulders of a group of talented 11th graders.

“We are a pretty young team,” said head coach Dennis Wells. “We are relying a lot on juniors, and I expect them to do well.”

At the front of that pack is Jacob Francis, a speedy quarterback — he was a 2A track state champion last spring — who totaled 1,145 passing yards and 758 rushing yards a year ago.

Add to the list Koi Cook and Cameron Taylor, both 6-foot running backs and linebackers, and Layton Call, a 5-foot-10 tight end and outside linebacker.

Juniors Edgar Gomez, David Bentley, Trae Downard, and Austin Day will anchor both the offensive and defensive lines.

“Last year, we had no upper class; the majority of the team was sophomores,” Wells said of a group that suffered because of so much youth. “We played a lot of those sophomores, and now they are a year older with varsity experience.”

The senior class will be led by a few receivers — Aaron Lewis, Aaron Randall and Wesley Rodda — and fullback Kamron Call.

There are approximately 10 seniors on the Red Devils' roster, half of which didn’t play much last season or didn’t play at all.

Preston Walston, a pitcher for the Grand County baseball team, is one of those kids.

“He didn’t play last season, but he is back this year,” Wells said. “He has gotten quite a bit bigger. It looks like he is going to be able to help us.”

There are also a handful of sophomores Wells thinks will be in positions to help the team this season. Those kids are Charlie DeMars-Conoly and Josh Harris, who will compete for offensive tackle positions, Koby Sobremesana, a receiver, and Ronnie Dolphin, a safety.

“We have put a lot of work in on defense to slow our opponents down,” Wells said. “(Because of that) we will probably start out a little slow, but if we can improve on defense, that will really help us down the line.”

Grand County Red Devils at a glance

Coach: Dennis Wells is entering his 11th season at Grand County, having compiled a record of 45-60. Wells is a graduate of Grand County High.


(5 returning starters; Shotgun offense)

QB Jacob Francis will be charged with guiding the squad down the field, and juniors Koi Cook, Cameron Taylor, and Layton Call will be moving the ball. The Red Devils scored just over 13 points a game last season and won just two games. With the varsity experience they gained a year ago, however, the team has the ability to improve on those numbers.


(5 returning starters)

Defense has been a point of emphasis this summer for coach Wells, as his team allowed 29.5 points per game and lost by an average of 15.9 points per game last season. Edgar Gomez, David Bentley, Trae Downard and Austin Day will anchor the defensive effort.

Coaches preseason 2A South straw poll: Seventh

Deseret News 2A South prediction: Seventh

Bottom line: The Red Devils have a lot of room to improve on a disappointing season a year ago. Now that they have some experience, the team’s juniors are in a position to contribute and turn things in the right direction.

2012 Schedule

Aug. 17 — at Carbon, 7 p.m.

Aug. 24 — at Emery, 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 — KANAB, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 — SAN JUAN, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 — at Richfield, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 — at Parowan, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 — SOUTH SEVIER, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 — at Enterprise, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 — BEAVER, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — Playoffs


Felts Facts for Grand High School

All-time record: 385-354-18 (91 years)

Region championships: 23(1923, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984 co, 1995 co, 2005 co)

Playoff appearances: 46

All-time playoff record: 25-45

State championships: 1 (2005)

State championship record: 1-5

Most played rivalry: 66 meetings with San Juan dating back to 1956. San Juan leads 39-27. Meet on Sept. 7.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Grand’s Tanner Brown is one of just two Utah gridders to rush for more than 5,000 career yards. He ran for 5,060 from 2003-06.

Grand coaching history

2002-Current — Dennis Wells (45-60)

1996-2001 — Ron Dolphin (21-39)

1994-1995 — Doug Thompson (13-7)

1992-1993 — Steve Hren (3-15)

1989-1991 — Doug Thompson (11-16)

1985-1988 — Bill Moore (16-19)

1983-1984 — Curtis Page (14-7)

1982 — Verplank (4-5)

1980-1981 — Bruce Burningham (5-14)

1959-1979 — Glen Richeson (134-72)

1954-1958 — Darrel Crawford (12-18)

1951-1953 — Dick Hill (8-11)

1949-1950 — Larry Palmer (12-4)

1947-1948 — K.L. Davis (7-10)

1946 – Mike McQuirk (0-4)

1944-1945 — Unknown (5-8)

1943 — Willard Devitt (2-4)

1941-1942 — Unknown (7-4)

1939-1940 — Ken Soffe (6-5)

1931-1938 — Glenn Merrill (25-14)

1930 — Joe Day (2-1)

1927-1929 — Eddie Kimball (14-5)

1925-1926 — Clem Campbell (8-4)

1921-1924 — H.B. Evans (7-5)


Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

2005 — Tanner Brown, RB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2011 — Kevin Ballard, LB

2010 — Billy Keddington, QB

2009 — Sam Demars-Conoly, LB

2009 — Trevor Robertson, QB/DB

2009 — Dallen Dalton, RB/LB

2008 — Tony Cossairt, OL

2007 — Gordon Garrett, QB/DB

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2007 — Daniel Simpson, DL

2006 — Tanner Brown, RB

2006 — Gordon Garrett, QB/DB

2006 — Kelly VanArsdol, WR/DB

2005 — Zane Taylor, DL/OL

2005 — Tony Dalton, QB/DB

2005 — Andy Baker, OL/LB

2005 — Travis Stott, OL/DL

2005 — Cody Skiby, TE/LB

2004 — Zane Taylor, OL

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

Email: sthomas@desnews.com

Twitter: @DNewsPreps

Contributing: Jessica Wilde, Conner Johnson, Steve Mundee and prep football historian George Felt.