Prep football: Versatility is Cameron Hansen's greatest strength

Published November 14, 2013 10:45 am
Cameron Hansen plays running back, safety and returns kickoffs.
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Draper • Big things happen when Cameron Hansen has the ball in his hands — move-the-chains, swing-the-momentum, crush-the-opponent, watch-him-take-it-to-the-house type of things.

And they seem to happen a lot.

The Juan Diego senior once scored 10 touchdowns as a Little League player eight years ago. Last week in his first game back from injury, Hansen returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, then intercepted a pass that set up another score to turn the tide in the Soaring Eagle's Class 3AA quarterfinal victory against Snow Canyon.

"I'm pretty confident, and it started from an early age," Hansen said. "I've always been confident with the ball in my hands."

That confidence has translated throughout the roster for Juan Diego, which plays in the 3AA semifinals Thursday against Pine View at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

On offense, Hansen has rushed for more than 300 yards and averages more than 7 yards per carry. He also has turned half of his four receptions into touchdowns and averages 27.5 yards per catch this season.

The addition of Hansen, who missed two games after he broke his right arm against Stansbury, only improves the Soaring Eagle (11-0), who are trying for their fourth state title in six years.

He played last week with an eight-inch cast that ran from his wrist to just below the elbow, and he planned to see a doctor this week with the chance it will be removed. The cast has limited his opportunities to run the ball, but he talked coaches into allowing him to return kicks.

"It's nice to have him back — a strong, fast athlete like that," Juan Diego coach John Colosimo said. "He's an incredible young man and a good athlete. We're fortunate to have him back.

"He's certainly capable of taking it all the way any time he touches the ball. He's pretty memorable when he does those types of things. His role now is to try to be consistent."

Hansen said he is fortunate to be playing at all, considering he initially was told the mid-shaft ulna fracture he sustained Oct. 10 would end his season.

"I was told I wasn't going to be able to play the rest of the season," Hansen said. "They told me I wouldn't be able to move my arm. One doctor told me I was out for the season, so we got a second opinion, and [that doctor] said I could play. It was crazy."

The Soaring Eagle certainly can use the 6-foot-3 strong safety as they try to defend Pine View's passing attack. Panthers quarterback Kody Wilstead has thrown for more than 3,200 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Juan Diego also is trying to erase the memory of a bitter defeat at Rice-Eccles a year ago. The Soaring Eagle entered in an identical situation — unbeaten heading into the 3A semifinals. But eventual champion Dixie ended Juan Diego's run with a one-point victory. —

Cameron Hansen file

• Juan Diego senior Cameron Hansen is a big-play threat in all phases of the game — on offense as a running back, defense as a strong safety and special teams as a kickoff returner.

• Hansen, who returned last week after missing two games with a broken arm, returned a kickoff for a TD and intercepted a pass in the Class 3AA quarterfinals.

• He averages more than 17 yards per catch and better than 7 yards per carry this season. —

Playoff schedule

O Class 5A

State semifinals

Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium

2:30 p.m. • Brighton vs. Jordan

6:30 p.m. • Lone Peak vs. Bingham

Class 4A

State semifinals

Thursday at Rice-Eccles Stadium

2:30 p.m. • Olympus vs. East

6:30 p.m. • Woods Cross vs. Timpview

Class 3AA

State semifinals

At Rice-Eccles Stadium

11 a.m. Thursday • Juan Diego vs. Pine View

11 a.m. Friday • Desert Hills vs. Dixie

Class 3A

State title game

Saturday at Weber State

11 a.m. • Judge vs. Manti

Class 2A

State title game

Saturday at Weber State

4 p.m. • Grand County vs. South Summit

Class 1A

State title game

Saturday at Weber State

1:30 p.m. • Duchesne vs. Rich



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