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.
The 2013 season did not go quite as the Payson Lions expected, but that’s football. You need health and a lucky bounce every now and then. The game is often won or lost by the slimmest of margins, and Payson coach Jeremy Chapman is optimistic that luck will now be on their side.
"I knew last year we’re on a razor’s edge every single game, whether we could win it or lose it," Chapman said. "There was only one game we struggled offensively last year, and the other games, we had our chances — we just fell short."
The key to the season will be staying healthy. Last year, the team was banged up. So the players put in extra effort in the weight room this offseason. Chapman is preparing his guys for being in hard-fought games, but he hopes their hard work in the offseason will change their fortunes.
"This year, it’s the same thing," he said. "It’s a razor’s edge, and I’m hoping the experience we had last year gets us over the edge this year, where we fall on the right side of that razor and get some W’s this year."
The Lions return a senior-heavy roster and, Chapman says, they’re just football players.
"They love the game, they love the work that goes into it, and they love to compete," he said. "I’m excited to watched the kids play and finish up their high school career because they’re great kids and fun to coach."
Last year » 1-9
Key returner » Payson returns its starting quarterback, Easton Smith, who looks to build off of a strong junior season.
Player to watch » Tight end Dalton Baker spent a lot of 2013 hurt, but that did not keep the Utah State Aggies from offering him a scholarship — which he accepted.
Biggest hole » The Lions will be replacing all five of their starting offensive linemen from a season ago, leaving a gaping hole to fill.
Need to know » Payson will look to snap a nine-game losing streak when it faces Provo on Aug. 22 — the lone team it beat in 2013.
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