EDITOR’S NOTE » This is one in a series of previews of Utah’s high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
Orem’s 2013 overall record of 5-6 is slightly misleading. It doesn’t scream playoff berth or co-region champion — two things they accomplished despite a sluggish start to the season.
"We always knew we had the talent, and that is what we keep telling the kids," said coach Tyler Anderson.
The Tigers dropped the first three games of the season before things started to click.
Anderson said after his players mastered the idea that football is a team sport, and if you want to win you have to play together and unselfishly, the victories began to come.
For the rest of the season, the Tigers only lost to two teams: Olympus, one of the teams they tied with for first in the region, and Salem Hills, which defeated them twice, once during the season and again in the first round of the playoffs.
Shortly after being booted from the state championship contention, the Tigers were back in the weight room preparing for another run.
Anderson said last year taught his players about sacrifice, and the need to be ready early. He said they have been preparing strong this offseason to start off quicker and become a state champion candidate.
"We have a lot of key returners, and I am excited to see what they will bring," said Anderson, who is in his fourth year as head coach. He is also a former Orem wide receiver and safety from 1984-1988.
Last year » 5-6 overall (5-1 Region 7; lost in first round)
Key returner » Senior Tucker Camp is a "great dual-threat" quarterback. Anderson said the combination of Tucker’s leadership and toughness will serve the Tigers well. He had more than 2,000 passing and 1,000 rushing yards last season.
Players to watch » Senior Isaiah Frame is a big and physical tight end and defensive end. He will spend more time on the offensive side of the ball. Senior Sampson Saluone, a defensive tackle who led the team in sacks last year, will also be playing offensive lineman this season.
Biggest hole » Orem will have to recover from the loss of two vital receivers: two-time All-State receiver Nolan Gray and All-Region selection Parker Overly. Anderson said he has some good younger kids, but they will need some time.
Need to know » Last season, Orem tied Olympus and Corner Canyon for the Region 7 title. Anderson said the plan is to win the region championship again, for the third straight year, as well as make a run for the state championship.
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