Prep football preview: Desert Hills Thunder
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.
Desert Hills Thunder
Ever since Desert Hills opened its doors in 2008, the Thunder have been a fixture in the state playoffs. The Thunder have accomplished this with hard work and discipline. They are fast and physical on offense and defense. They don't always put up big numbers, but they usually find a way to get the job done.
After losing a good amount of impact players from last year's 3AA championship team, the Thunder will look to repeat by relying on everyone, not just a couple stars.
"It takes all 11 guys doing their job at all times, and that's what's so great about our team and the kids that have come through," Thunder coach Carl Franke said. "They're really supportive of each other and they know they're only as good as their weakest link."
Placing a heavy emphasis on the team as a whole is nothing new to Desert Hills, They are still a young school, but they have done their best to ingrain a "family" theme into their culture.
That being said, they still have plenty of star power with Gabe and Boogie Sewell, Bridger and Tucker Cowdin, Nick Warmsley, and Justice Alo. Their biggest question will be at the defensive end position.
Franke's guys are so focused, he says, they have long since on from last year's championship.
"We know how difficult it is to get to a championship game nonetheless win one but our kids â¦ when February came around and the weight room started to open up again," he said, "that's when the kids started to forget about [last season]."
Last year • 11-2 (3AA state champions)
Key returner • Gabe Sewell is described by many as the heart and soul of the Thunder. Not only is he a big-time playmaker, he is the team's emotional leader.
Player to watch • Nephi Sewell Gabe's younger brother is only a sophomore, but he will be a starter and someone that Franke believes will be a force to be reckoned with.
Biggest hole • Brock Doman solidified the defensive line as a three-year starter. Now his position is a question mark the team is hoping gets answered, fast.
Need to know • Six years may be a short time, but Desert Hills has never missed the playoffs.