Prep football preview: Spanish Fork Dons
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.
Spanish Fork Dons
This is the year. This should be the year. Could this be the year?
There’s an air of cautious optimism at Spanish Fork’s football camp, and for good reason. The Dons are loaded with senior experience and return their top performers on both sides of the ball.
"We’re apprehensive, excited and confident," said Spanish Fork coach Kirk Chambers, whose senior class will push 30 members. "We’re a lot like every team at this time of year. We have some young players we are going to need to step up."
The offense returns a slew of talent, starting with quarterback Jason Money, who amassed 3,000 yards and accounted for 24 touchdowns last season. Also back on offense are top rusher Taylor Noles, top receiver Joey Anderson, top tight end Ryan Golish.
Defensive end John Leilua and linebacker Heber Shepherd are among the five returning defensive starters.
There are holes to fill on the line of scrimmage, but the addition of junior Solofa Funa from Southern California, and the emergence of 6-foot-4 junior Tanner Parker will help.
"He fell into our lap," Chambers said of Funa, a 230-pound defensive end who has received interest from BYU. "Our defensive ends are going to wreak havoc on teams this season. But we are looking at everyone — from freshmen to seniors — to fill the spots on the line."
Last year » 5-6 (4-2 Region 8)
Key returner » Senior quarterback Jason Money has accounted for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.
Player to watch » Junior defensive end Solofa Funa (6-foot-3, 230) moved to Utah after playing at Servite High School in Fullerton, Calif.
Biggest hole » Funa and senior John Leilua bookend the defensive line, but the Dons need others to emerge as starters along both the offensive and defensive line.
Need to know » Spanish Fork has finished .500 or better in the regular season in each of the past 11 seasons.