Prep football preview: Delta Rabbits
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.
For a school with 10 state championships to its credit, back-to-back losing seasons over the last two years is certainly far from the norm. And Delta suffered through four straight lopsided losses in the middle of the 2013 campaign.
But the Rabbits finished with wins in two of their last three games, and coach Russ Fowles enters his second year with renewed optimism.
"We just couldn’t beat the ones we needed to. Hopefully, that experience will get us to that next level," Fowles said. "And a little more experience for the coach will help, too."
Senior quarterback Bracken Lovell will bring a year of experience to the position, and he’ll have help in the backfield from senior Victor Almanza (5-foot-8, 160 pounds), who will move from wide receiver to running back.
Linemen David Schena (6-2, 210) and Mark Denbow (5-10, 200), both seniors, provide experience up front, and they’ll get some help from junior Body Draper.
Defensively, Johnny Hatch (5-10, 160) will move to outside linebacker for his senior season, and he’ll help Almanza in that unit while Draper and Schena man the defensive line.
It’s the secondary that causes some concern for the Rabbits faithful.
"That’s where we struggled last year," Fowles said. "We’d do pretty well for awhile and then we’d get hit with the long ball.
"I think we will surprise some people," the coach added. "We had a deer-in-the-headlight look a little last year, but we’re ready to step back up to the winning tradition this program is used to."
Last year » 4-6 overall (1-4 in 3A South)
Key returner » Senior QB Bracken Lovell (5-7, 145) got some key experience starting a year ago.
Player to watch » Junior OT/DT Body Draper (6-2, 210) is expected to play a big role on both lines this season.
Biggest hole » Seniors Johnny Hatch and Victor Almanza are slated for linebacker positions, but may have to be used in the defensive backfield on occasion.
Need to know » Offensive weapons Lovell and Almanza might be fairly slight of build, but each are state champion wrestlers with concentrated strength.