What can Summit Academy do for an encore?
The Bears surprised some by going 5-5 and reaching the playoffs in their inaugural season last year. They even shut out four opponents by a combined score of 230-0, including games in which they scored 73 and 81 points.
Their reward a move up to Class 2A.
"For the most part, they weren't too intimidated," coach Scott Gorringe said about last year's sophomore-laden group. "They gave me effort and didn't shy away from contact. That year of maturity and lifting has made us stronger. Mentally, when they go out there this season, they'll say 'We've seen this before.'"
The potential to do even better is there after losing only four seniors to graduation. However, Gorringe does have some reservations about moving up to 2A, where teams tend to have more depth than 1A schools.
"There are some really good players in 1A," he said. "We'll see some quality players in 2A, but there will be more quantity. We'll have to mix it up with them. We've got to have the mental edge and go at these [teams], not shy away from them. The year of experience bodes well for us."
Offensively, Hagan Hines takes over at quarterback for Christian Miller, who transferred to Pleasant Grove. While Miller threw for 1,451 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, but Hines brings a different skill set. Gorringe envisions the Bears becoming more balanced and a downhill running team.
Joe Denos and Dylan Bagley will combine to replace the graduated Brodi Strong in the backfield. Steven Harp also will be back there. Denos has good speed, while Bagley has the toughness needed to run between the tackles.
Harp, Denos and Hayden Henriod are key receivers, while Jaden Rugg, Josh Gorringe and Drew Barnes anchor the line. Barnes and Colby Beard will start at linebacker. Hines' defensive reps will be limited since he's also playing quarterback.
"I think we're going to surprise some people," said coach Gorringe, whose team played three-time state champion Duchesne tough last season.
The Bears open the season Aug. 23 at Emery.
Summit Academy Bears
ASSIGNMENT • Class 2A North
LAST YEAR • 5-5 overall, 2-2 Class 1A North
KEY RETURNER • Hagan Hines, QB. Hines takes over at quarterback for Christian Miller, who transferred to Pleasant Grove. The offense is being tailored to suit his skill set and seeks to be more balanced.
PLAYERS TO WATCH • Dylan Bagley, TB. Bagley will combine with Joe Denos to give the Bears a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield. Bagley runs behind his pads well and has the toughness to run between the tackles.
BIGGEST HOLES • Youth on the front lines. The majority of the lines are juniors with one year of varsity experience. They are expected to be more mature and utilize the experience gained last year.
NEED TO KNOW • Coach Gorringe believes his team will surprise some people this season. Win or lose, opponents will know they were in a battle.