Prep football preview: Pleasant Grove Vikings
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.
Pleasant Grove Vikings
Pleasant Grove will hit the gridiron this year with a young team, noteworthy for its strong junior group. One year after finishing in a four-way tie for the Region 4 title, the Vikings will be looking to take that next step.
"Each year that I've been here at Pleasant Grove, we've tried to improve on the season before," coach Les Hamilton said.
This year the Vikings will look to win their region once again and host a home playoff game. Due to the 2013 tiebreaker, the Vikings found themselves on the road.
Despite being young, they will have several starters returning. Six of the 2013 starters were sophomores. "We're going to be very young this year with a lot of juniors, sophomores, and possibly even a freshman starting for us," Hamilton said. "It's kind of tough. We want to take the next step forward for us, which is to win our conference and to get home playoff games."
When the season kicks off, Pleasant Grove will open on the road against a familiar foe, the Alta Hawks.
"It's an emotional game for me, obviously going back," said Hamilton, a former Alta coach. "I spent six seasons up there and won a couple state championships, so to go back to my old school, it's going to be emotional."
As they take the field, one of their top goals will be to improve defensive efficiency after allowing 25 points per game in 2013.
Last year • 9-3
Key returner • Demetrius Davis is a soon-to-be three-year starter, who will be anchoring the Vikings' line as he moves over to tackle for his senior season.
Players to watch • Junior Jacob Doman is Pleasant Grove's playmaker on both offense and defense. He'll start at both receiver and cornerback. Linebacker Dallin Pili is also expected to contend for all-state honors.
Biggest hole • The Vikings will have to find a replacement for all-stater Jeremiah Evans, who threw for over 2,500 yards in 2013.
Need to know • The Vikings are expected to be good in 2014, but they're also expected to start 16 to 17 underclassmen.