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.
You get the sense that Uintah is still a year away from being a major contender in Class 3AA North.
That would make the 2014 season a pretty big stepping stone on the Utes’ climb from the bottom.
"I think we’re picking up where we left off from last, rather than starting over like we did at the start of last season," third-year coach Cody Reutzel said. "It’s nice to see."
The Utes return seven or eight starters on each side of the ball, and have a ton of talent back from a team that easily should have had more than one region win last season if it weren’t for its struggles in the red zone.
Finding a starting quarterback will be key — it’s a two-man race between senior Hayden Bunderson and junior Kedric Coonis. And the Utes will have holes to fill along the offensive and defensive lines, but Reutzel is optimistic.
"Last year’s senior class wasn’t big, but they were valuable," he said. "We’ve got a pretty talented group back."
That talent but will be tested early — the Utes play four road games after opening at home against Ogden, and have six road games overall.
Last year » 3-7 (1-5 Class 3AA North)
Key returner » Hayden Bunderson was the Utes’ top receiver last year, hauling in seven TDs. This season, he is competing for the starting quarterback job after impressing coaches in camp.
Player to watch » Tyson Colton rushed for five touchdowns last season as a sophomore. Reutzel said Colton just might sneak up on opposing teams this year.
Biggest hole » The Utes are physically talented, but lost a lot of leadership to graduation. Who will step up and take the reins?
Need to know » How close were the Utes to making the playoffs last season? Four of their losses last season were by eight points or fewer.
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