The dogfight for the Class 3AA state title starts in the classroom.
The skills to be successful academically are the same that Juan Diego coach John Colosimo expects his players to use on the field, and it has been paying off for the Soaring Eagle.
Juan Diego Soaring Eagle
ASSIGNMENT » Class 3AA North
LAST YEAR » 12-1 overall, 5-0 Region 10
KEY RETURNERS » The running backs duo of Jesse Springer and Chase Williams combined for almost 3,000 yards last year. They’ve been challenged to break the 4,000 yard mark this year. Senior lineman Harry Jones started on the offensive line for three years but will move to tight end for this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH » Cole Nelson, sr., QB. His leadership in last year’s Wasatch win gives him the confidence to captain the Soaring Eagle’s offense. He completed 76 percent of his passes in limited action last season.
BIGGEST HOLE » An embarrassment of riches. With a talent group of players to choose from, Juan Diego still is trying to determine the right players for the right situations.
NEED TO KNOW » The defensive line is quick, athletic and tough. Led by senior Semisi Bloomfield, expect to see the Soaring Eagle put enormous pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
"It starts with being on time, being respectful and thoughtful," Colosimo said. "We ask that our players constantly improve so that our team can improve simultaneously."
This relationship on and off the field is the foundation for the Soaring Eagle success on both sides of the ball. With a roster filled with talented players, Colosimo likes his chances for success this season.
Quarterback Cole Nelson is more than adept at executing the split-back veer. It might not be the most exciting offensive package, but it is efficient. The Soaring Eagle are able to maintain possession of the ball and move the chains. Juan Diego finished 12-1 last season by snuffing out the opposition’s offense.
"Cole was flawless at Wasatch [a 49-7 JD win]," Colosimo said. "The kids are very confident with Cole back there. The hardest part about Cole is keeping him off the defensive side. The kid is a very good defender."
Nelson will have a pair of running back options — Jesse Springer and Chase Williams — to lean on. The two combined for almost 3,000 yards last season, and Colosimo is certain the two will surpass that total this season.
"Jesse and Chase have good speed in the backfield," Colosimo said. "They have the athleticism to get that extra yard, and we’re excited to have them both back."
Juan Diego opens the season against Corner Canyon. Colosimo hopes the new neighboring school develops into a healthy rival.
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