For new head coach Will Hawes, the Clearfield football program carries a certain - well, something he can't quite explain.
"It was a job that I always admired," he said. "I've been driving past Clearfield High School for the past 15 years as a resident. I don't know exactly what it was that drew me to that program, but it had something about it that made me want to be there."
Hawes takes over the moribund program - the past two Falcons coaches both lost 22 games in three-year stints - after leading Layton Christian to its first ever postseason victory a year ago. Hawesspent seven years there before the successful turnaround and a 1A state final berth, so he has experience with patient rebuilds.
With Clearfield, which won a state championship in 1992 and four region titles through that decade, a slow rebuild may indeed be necessary. Coming off a 2-8 season, the Falcons are eager for anykind of change. With Hawes, that means a return to fundamentals - something he spent the summer stressing rather than schemes.
Once that foundation is in place, the coach hopes his young group - two starters return on offense, three on defense - will embrace his pro-set offense.
"I think what people will see differently is the tempo that we play," Hawes said. "They'll see guys actually in stance and going in the right direction rather than just standing up, watching. We're reallyparticular about the details. I think they'll see a different-looking football team."
LAST YEAR: 2-8, missed the playoffs.KEY RETURNER: Esaia Soifua, senior, fullback/defensive lineman. Started on both sides last year, making him one of the most experienced players. Great size at 6-foot, 315 pounds.PLAYER TO WATCH: Jayden Garcia, senior, running back/linebacker. The primary ballcarrier for the Falcons, Garcia should see time at safety as well.BIGGEST HOLE: Defensive depth could be a problem as Clearfield switches from a 3-3-5 defense to a 4-3 - another part of Hawes' effort to get back to traditional football.NEED TO KNOW: Hawes didn't have an incredible tenure at Layton Christian, but broke through last year by taking the Eagles to the 1A finals. In a few years, he could produce results for the Falcons.SEASON OPENER: Visits Roy. 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
Aug. 7: Woods Cross/Syracuse
Aug. 8: Cottonwood/American Fork
Aug. 9: Granger/Tooele
Aug. 10: Murray/Bountiful
Aug. 11: Skyline/Highland
Aug. 13: West/Pleasant Grove
Aug. 14: Bingham/Brighton
Jack Wangjwang@sltrib.comTwitter: @thejackwang