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(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Pleasant Grove Vikings wait to take the field. American Fork led Pleasant Grove 10-9 at the half in Pleasant Grove, Friday, October 18, 2013.
Prep football: Region 4 preview

First Published Aug 16 2014 03:17 pm • Last Updated Aug 16 2014 11:00 pm

American Fork Cavemen

The American Fork Cavemen have been waiting for this season for a long time: "This group has been very successful for a lot of years," coach Aaron Behm said. "So they expect to be successful, this being their senior year."

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Armed with star players James Empey, Zach Katoa, and Nate Heaps — who all won All-Poly MVP awards this summer — the Cavemen could be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.

"We’ve got some great athletes coming back, some that have contributed at the varsity level for two years, so this will be their third," Behm said. "We have a great group of core guys returning that are very talented, and we also feel like we have a good supporting cast around those guys who can make us a really tough football team this fall."

The Cavemen reside in a stacked Region 4, and despite not winning the region in 2013, many coaches see them as a threat in 5A. They will find out just how good of a team they might have, starting the first game of the season as they the talent-laden Brighton Bengals.

"I think it sets a bar," Behm said. "We know where we’re up against one of the best teams in the state. It helps identify the things that we’re going to need to do to be successful."

Last year » 6-4 (3-3 in Region 4)

Key returner » Zach Katoa is a multi-faceted running back that goes is going into his third season being the Cavemen’s lead back.

Player to watch » The strong-armed Tanner Smith started is back at quarterback for his junior season and he’s armed with solid playmakers around him.

Biggest hole » The most trusted members of the secondary — safety Jonah Trinnaman and cornerback Jade Luker — are gone, leaving a young group needing to step up.

story continues below
story continues below

Need to know » In 2013, Region 4 finished in a four-way tie, at 4-2. The Cavemen beat two of the top teams, but finished 3-3.

Herriman Mustangs

Coming off of a .500 season in 2013, hopes are high for the Herriman Mustangs. It is Year 5 of the school now, and coach Dustin Pearce believes they are close to being a consistent contender.

"I feel like if we stay healthy and camp continues to go as it has, we’re going to be in good position to control our own destiny," he said.

The Mustangs will boast one of the best players in the state, in Andre James — a dependable anchor for their offensive line.

"It makes coaching real easy when you have good players like Andre," Pearce said. "You know, there’s no secret to that."

Rather than make a bold statement, Pearce chooses to let his team’s play do the talking — as they take the season one game at a time — and he hopes it leads to a region championship. "I’m not a guy with a lot of words, man," he said. "I let my team speak for itself. We’re just going to come out and compete and put the best players on the field to represent our high school and our community."

While Pearce might not be one for many words, optimism is high for the Mustangs.

"We think we’re on track to being a very competitive football team," he said.

Last year » 6-6

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