Prep football two-a-days: Layton
Jim Batchelor has been at it for nine years at Layton, and he conveys the same message when freshmen walk into his office as youngsters with eventual varsity hopes:
"You better get everything you want out of this because your senior year will come as soon as you know."
For the Class of 2014, those senior Lancers are practicing like it's their last season because Batchelor has seen it on the field in the first two weeks of fall camp. They want to eradicate the memory of last year's 3-8 season and want to contend for a Region 1 title.
"That's the good thing about this group," said Batchelor, Layton's football coach. "They've figured it out themselves. They have pretty good perspective on it."
Leading the charge is three-year starting quarterback Hunter Evans along with essentially the entire starting offensive line from a year ago, largely consisting of seniors.
In order for Evans to lead the Lancers toward the postseason, Batchelor said he needs his senior veteran to be consistent and steady and avoid trying to overwork situations.
"He doesn't have to be the guy to go out and win it himself, and he knows that," Batchelor said. "I have some good young skilled kids who are around him who are going to make plays."
Like Jordan Jaramillo and Justin Banks, two players who are sure to see time receiving and in the backfield as well as in the defensive backfield. Toss in running back Davis Marriott, and the Lancers have formidable two-way players to help guide the offense.
Defensively, Batchelor said junior defensive end Mason Ewing will be the linchpin on the defensive line. In the linebacking corps, junior Atlas Armstrong will be on the outside and provide a steady pass rush, while senior Hayden Langston will man the middle.
Batchelor said the talent is there to overcome last year's disappointing season, but he said the biggest question mark for the Lancers heading into 2013 is health.
"We've got to stay healthy," he said. "We're playing against schools with larger squads, and I think our kids are as good as anybody, but we've got avoid the injury bug."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 1
LAST YEAR • 3-8 overall, 2-3 Region 1
KEY RETURNER • Jordan Jaramillo, sr., WR/CB. A slot receiver last year, he will be a key cog in the Lancers offense this season and will be a go-to receiver for quarterback Hunter Evans.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Hayden Langston, sr., MLB. Batchelor called Langston a "small and heady kid who plays tough as nails and has a good nose for the ball." Langston will be the anchor to the Layton defense in the middle as the mike linebacker.
BIGGEST HOLE • Depth. As Batchelor said, the Lancers have the quality and talent to contend in a tough Region 1, but must stay healthy once the season rolls into the region schedule.
NEED TO KNOW • Batchelor said the offseason, as expected, was a lot longer than usual with the tough 2012 season. He said last year's struggles have only fueled the returning players and members of the coaching staff.