Pleasant Grove looks poised for a big season, and the Vikings have a coach who knows how to get them there.
Les Hamilton, who is entering his second season with the Vikings, likes what he sees in his players. He brought in his old coordinator from his days at Alta, Ron Halbert, to run his defense. The two helped Alta win two state championships during their tenure there.
The Vikings will run a 3-3-5 defense, which Hamilton called "high risk, high reward" and made popular by current San Diego State coach Rocky Long.
"Because we're a no-huddle, spread offense, I want a defense that's a little bit riskier that's going to make big plays," Hamilton said. "If we're going to give up big plays, I'd rather get it done and over with so our offense can get back on the field. That's our philosophy."
The high-quality defensive players on the Viking team will help to make big plays. Senior Josh Marsh is a linebacker who has put up good numbers, and senior defensive back Spencer Romney had three interceptions through five games before getting injured last season.
But the crown jewel will be defensive end Zac Dawe, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound BYU commit. "He's our heart and soul right now, our team leader," Hamilton said.
Dawe also will play tackle on offense, where he will block alongside linemen just as big as he, if not as athletic.
With experienced skill players like running back TJ Wind and receiver Tyler Schade teaming with the massive front line, Pleasant Grove very well could be a contender this season.
Pleasant Grove Vikings
ASSIGNMENT • Region 4
LAST YEAR • 6-5 overall, 3-2 Region 4
KEY RETURNER: • Zac Dawe, sr., DE/LT. Dawe is huge, fast and will wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. "He's a D-I player playing high school," Hamilton said.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Dallin Pili, so., LB. Pili saw action as a freshman and already has prototypical linebacker size at 6 foot and 220 pounds.
BIGGEST HOLE • With experience, size and athleticism all over the field, the one position that's still not settled is the most important position on the field quarterback.
NEED TO KNOW • The talent level is high, and Hamilton is an accomplished coach. If the defense can get off the field on third downs and the offense limits turnovers, this will be a successful team.