Lone Peak senior quarterback Baron Gajkowski looks every bit the star high school quarterback. He’s 6 foot 3 with muscular shoulders and arms, and he speaks with confidence, passing praise to his teammates like he passes them the football.
"My goal this year is to be the best teammate I can be for everyone," Gajkowski said after the first official practice of the new season.
Lone Peak Knights
ASSIGNMENT » Region 4
LAST YEAR » 10-3 overall, 4-1 Region 4
KEY RETURNER » Baron Gajkowski, sr., QB. There are talented starters back all over the field, but this team will go as far as its captain can takes it, which very well could be hoisting the Class 5A state title trophy.
PLAYER TO WATCH » Dylan Murdock, sr., WR. Both coach Mower and Gajkowski speak highly of Murdock, who played sparingly as a junior. “I want to go out and make a name for myself,” Murdock said. Both coach and quarterback think he’s poised to do just that.
BIGGEST HOLE » The linebackers are young and inexperienced.
NEED TO KNOW » The offensive identity of this team won’t change under Mower, but he hopes the team will be much better defensively. The Knights brought back former Lone Peak assistant coach Tom Longenecker to be the defensive coordinator.
Lone Peak graduated Talon Shumway last season, who will move on to BYU, but Gajkowski said that void will be filled by a committee of talented receivers.
"Offensively, we have a lot of talent," the quarterback said. "I feel like we can strike anytime, anywhere we want."
While Gajkowski, who has been offered a scholarship from Utah State and has interest from BYU, Utah and Alabama, worries about the offense, first-year coach Mike Mower is more concerned with the defense.
"The key this season is we’ve got to be a better defensive team than we’ve been the last couple of years," said Mower, who has been an assistant at Lone Peak the last three seasons before taking over this year for Tony McGeary, who resigned in February amidst allegations of wrongdoing at the school.
"We’ve been pretty good at putting points on the board, but we’ve got to do a better job of keeping people out of the end zone," Mower said.
The Knights are 24-3 over the past two seasons with a state championship and a semifinal appearance, but neither Mower nor Gajkowski is ready to settle for anything less than a championship this season.
"The expectations at Lone Peak High School are very high," Mower said. "But I think we have the potential to live up to that."
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