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Prep football preview: American Fork Cavemen

By Alex Markham

Special to The Tribune

First published Aug 07 2014 04:00PM
Updated Aug 19, 2014 09:16AM

EDITOR’S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah’s high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.

American Fork Cavemen

The American Fork Cavemen have been waiting for this season for a long time: "This group has been very successful for a lot of years," coach Aaron Behm said. "So they expect to be successful, this being their senior year."

Armed with star players James Empey, Zach Katoa, and Nate Heaps — who all won All-Poly MVP awards this summer — the Cavemen could be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.

"We’ve got some great athletes coming back, some that have contributed at the varsity level for two years, so this will be their third," Behm said. "We have a great group of core guys returning that are very talented, and we also feel like we have a good supporting cast around those guys who can make us a really tough football team this fall."

The Cavemen reside in a stacked Region 4, and despite not winning the region in 2013, many coaches see them as a threat in 5A. They will find out just how good of a team they might have, starting the first game of the season as they the talent-laden Brighton Bengals.

"I think it sets a bar," Behm said. "We know where we’re up against one of the best teams in the state. It helps identify the things that we’re going to need to do to be successful."

Last year • 6-4 (3-3 in Region 4)

Key returner • Zach Katoa is a multi-faceted running back that goes is going into his third season being the Cavemen’s lead back.

Player to watch • The strong-armed Tanner Smith started is back at quarterback for his junior season and he’s armed with solid playmakers around him.

Biggest hole • The most trusted members of the secondary — safety Jonah Trinnaman and cornerback Jade Luker — are gone, leaving a young group needing to step up.

Need to know • In 2013, Region 4 finished in a four-way tie, at 4-2. The Cavemen beat two of the top teams, but finished 3-3.

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