With a new school, new stadium and new coach, the Granger Lancers turned the corner last season.
But just as the team was looking to take the next step, Granger has been hit by more adversity.
Nine players were arrested in connection with a May robbery spree and seven of them were banned from playing football this season. And nine other players were hospitalized with symptoms of heat exhaustion earlier this month.
Nevertheless, Granger coach Cecil Thomas says the Lancers are prepared to take advantage of the fall.
"Our kids that are here are doing fine," he said. "We're moving forward, moving right along."
Thomas believes having his first full offseason as the Lancers' coach will be a boon.
"When I got the job last year, the hay was already in the barn because everything happens in the offseason," he said. "That's where you find out where you're at. The biggest thing was teaching these kids to grind on a daily basis."
Granger's quarterback situation was a question mark heading into summer. But 6-foot-5 Zack Ashman has stepped up and provided an answer, Thomas said.
"Zack is probably the most improved player," Thomas said. "Just understanding how to read defenses, proper mechanics throwing the ball. He's a tough competitor and a great kid, and he's proving that."
Ashman will get some serious protection from Utah-commit Kenyon Frison on the offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, young linebacker Sione Tauataina will get some help from Highland transfer Kiti Houma.
"Our region is going to be tough," Thomas said. "Taylorsville is getting better. Hunter is always a big battle for us. West has kids. Everybody's got guys. The biggest thing for us is to take it one week at a time and make sure we're getting better on a week to week basis."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 2
LAST YEAR • 7-4 overall, 3-2 Region 2
KEY RETURNER • Offensive lineman Kenyon Frison has committed to play for the University of Utah.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Highland transfer Kiti Houma should help bolster the team's defense.
BIGGEST HOLE • Coach Cecil Thomas was worried about his quarterback play coming into the year, but quarterback Zack Ashman has been the most improved Lancer this summer.
NEED TO KNOW • The Lancers averaged better than 35 points a game last season but gave up more than 30 points in six contests last year.