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.
Becoming the new head football coach at Skyline was not the end goal on Justin Thompson’s checklist, but rather a starting point.
He knows there is much more to accomplish in the process of restoring the program’s prestigious reputation.
Thompson considers the following the agenda moving forward »
First, get better as a football team.
Second, beat the teams in the neighborhood.
Third, become one the elite teams in Class 4A.
Then, the Skyline football program can start thinking about a state championship, again — something they are accustomed to. Skyline has "two or three handfuls" of state championship — 14 to be exact. But the last one was in 2005.
"It’s not about doing new things, but doing old things better," said Thompson, who had been an assistant coach since 1996.
The longtime Eagle (who also played for the team from 1990-93) said last season was difficult, but he plans to stay "true to the Skyline tradition of hard work."
"It really fuels me. … I know how special [Skyline football] is to our community. And how special it can be to the young men we coach," Thompson said. "We are proud of the young men, and the people they were and the example they set, but we need to improve our performance on the field this year."
Last year » 4-6 (2-4 Region 7)
Key returners » Aleck Russon was Skyline’s most productive offensive player as the leading rusher with 10 touchdowns. Braxton Chipman, a senior quarterback, threw for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Players to watch » Senior wide receiver and defensive back Parker Bowles finished with 71 tackles and 10 catches. Sam Prince, a senior linebacker, had 68 tackles. Luke Morris, a senior wide receiver, added 45 catches and 5 touchdowns.
Biggest hole » Thompson said the Eagles need to improve at the offensive line. "It’s been a major point of emphasis for us."
Need to know » "We are a very experienced team, and we bring back a lot of major contributors," Thompson said. "But, it was a team that didn’t have as much success as we like. Hopefully, we come back hungry."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.