<em>This is the second of four in a series of previews of Cache Valley’s UHSAA football teams. Ridgeline High’s preview can be found <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/sports/local_prep/article_02aab1aa-583e-11e6-9c02-737ea66c928d.html” target=”_blank”>here</a>.</em>
SMITHFIELD – In Sky View’s first year at the 5A level, head coach Craig Anhder led his team to a region championship and an undefeated streak that lasted until a loss in the state semifinals to eventual champ Herriman High.
His senior-heavy class gave him quite the arsenal of college football-caliber weapons, weapons he will need to replace. Quarterback Garrison Beach committed to play football at Colorado Mesa University, tackle Colton Durrant plans to play for Air Force, defensive end Max Christensen is going to Nevada, running back Mason Tye is headed south to Weber State and wider receiver Bryce Mortenson will stay close and play for Utah State.
According to Anhder, his team isn’t worrying about last year. He said it was a great year that made some great memories, but right now his team is looking for its first win.
“We never try to follow anything up,” he said. “It’s a brand new season, so we really emphasize that to the kids. Last year was great, a lot of these kids were on that team. They enjoyed it, we enjoyed it, but we have got to start over.”
This year’s team will return just four starters from last year’s squad – safety Woody Udy, kicker Kyler Erickson and linebackers Riley Haderlie and J.R Martindale. Anhder said he loves the leadership he has seen from those four.
“They provide a face to look at that shows confidence,” he said. “A kid goes out there and starts his first game, his eyes are pretty big. These guys won’t have that, their eyes will be focused and narrowed and ready to roll.”
According to Anhder, the 11 new offensive starters will run the same spread offense as last year, but it will be run differently.
“We’re going to try and work the ball around and get it to our best athletes,” he said.
Anhder is looking at five different players to fill the quarterback position. He said the team will be in good hands with whoever gets the job.
“I think we’re going to be different than what Garrison Beach gave us,” he said. “We’ll do some different things because of that, but I’ve got five very good athletes. They’ve each got different strengths and different weaknesses. It has got to be, ‘Who is going to be the right puzzle for the rest of the team?’”
Udy said it will be up to wide receiver Brody Martin to fill in for Mortenson. Martin said it will take a lot of work, but Udy likes how his teammate is handling it.
“That’s a big step up,” he said. “He’s doing work, he’s doing good.”
Martindale believes the team can get back to where it was last year. He and Haderlie both said they are working hard to get the younger guys up to speed.
“(We) just work with them,” Martindale said. “They’re not going to get it the first day. Stay patient and just work with them.”
Haderlie said he knows some people doubt his team because of its inexperience, but said he doesn’t pay too much attention to it.
“All you can do is prove it on the field and show them they’re wrong,” he said. “We’ve got great players coming over, we’ve got a lot of younger kids stepping up and putting in work. That’s all you can do is put it all on the field.”
The Bobcats will open the season as part of the Rocky Mountain Kickoff at Maverik Stadium against Riverton on July 19th.