On the first day playing with pads, Skyler Farnes overworked his shoulder to the point where hll be sitting out a few days this week.
The senior quarterback was pressing too hard, coach Justin Spencer says, trying to give it all on the first day. Even though the coach wanted Farnes to stay on the field, he could appreciate the urgency that the entire Woods Cross team is feeling.
"They know what's expected, and they have lofty goals this year," Spencer says. "This is a special group of kids, and they can get there."
The program's rather large chip on its shoulder stems from two seasons in which the Wildcats were better than their record showed. It's been tough to succeed with coaching changes: After Kitt Rawlings fell ill before the season even started, Nick Longshore took over as interim coach, and the team had a bumpy 4-6 season.
Spencer accepted the permanent job this spring, and Farnes says practices have been quite crisp.
"We're working really efficiently, and there's not a lot of wasted time," he says. "If there's stuff we need to get done, we get it done."
Farnes was an all-state passer last season, but Woods Cross will try to balance out the pass with the run this year, toning down his atmospheric numbers last year.
The real strength of the Wildcats is on defense, where Stanford commit Sean Barton will man the secondary as a returning all-state safety. Filipo Mokofisi, a Utah commit, wil likely be Woods Cross' best pass rusher, working alongside Kearns transfer Maurice Toilolo.
"There's been a lot of buzz that this team might be our best in years," Mokofisi says. "We know it's been a rocky road in past years, but we're coming together."
LAST YEAR: 4-6, lost to Timpview in first round. KEY RETURNER: Sean Barton, senior, wide receiver/safety. The Stanford commit runs like a deer, but hits like a truck. He also was the Wildcats' top receiver last year with more than 900 yards. PLAYER TO WATCH: Maurice Toilolo, senior, defensive tackle. After transferring from Kearns, Toilolo is expected to plug the run for Woods Cross' new 4-2-5 defense. BIGGEST HOLE: One continuing theme that comes up is lack of communication something the Wildcats will need to do more of under a new coach with new schemes. NEED TO KNOW: After a few seasons of being outshined by teams in their own region, the Wildcats have the stability and talent needed to roar onto the scene. But seeding will come down to key games most of which they get to play at home. SEASON OPENER: Visits Viewmont. Aug. 17 @ 7 p.m.
Previous postsJuly 25: Introduction/Riverton
July 26: Hunter/Park City
July 27: Kearns/Copper Hills
July 28: Davis/Juan DiegoJuly 30: Olympus/Judge Memorial
July 31: Alta/Grantsville
Aug. 1: Westlake/West Jordan
Aug. 2: Layton/Hillcrest
Aug. 3: Jordan/Lone Peak
Aug. 4: Viewmont/Stansbury
Aug. 6: Lehi/Cyprus
Kyle Goon email@example.com Twitter: @kylegoon