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(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Snow Canyon's Connor Parry (14) runs past Juan Diego's McKay Howard (24) during the game at Juan Diego Catholic High School Friday November 8, 2013.
Prep football: 3AA North preview

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

Bear River Bears

Bear River should know pretty darn early whether it can expect to compete in a talented Class 3AA North region.

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That’s because coach Chris Wise has loaded up the preseason portion of the Bears’ schedule with Class 4A teams Logan, Mountain Crest and Box Elder, in an effort to test his team and prepare the players for region play.

"They’re asking me if I’m trying to kill them," Wise said of his players. "We’re going to focus on what we’re good at, and not going to worry about making adjustments."

Senior quarterback Walker Riley, a backup last year, will run the triple-option spread offense, and will look to get the ball to wideout Bridger Beus, who scored five TDs a season ago.

There are plenty of holes on the offensive line that need to be filled — left guard Carson Gibbs is the only returning starter up front.

New defensive coordinator Jared Lish will work to retool a squad that allowed 34 points or more five times last season. He will build around senior linebacker McKade Mitton, who was a monster a season ago (more than 150 tackles and five sacks).

If they survive the preseason schedule, the Bears just may be in position to compete for the 3AA North title.

"It’s hard to say," Wise said. "There are so many talented teams in the region. Juan Diego graduated a lot of seniors, but they always have athletes. You just never can tell."

Last year » 7-4 (4-2 in Class 3AA North)

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Key returner » Senior linebacker McKade Mitton had twice as many tackles as the next closest teammate a season ago, and led the team with five sacks.

Player to watch » Wise said the Bears need to get the ball into the hands of junior Bridger Beus, an elusive wideout who will carry and catch the ball in the triple-option spread offense.

Biggest hole » The offensive line lost four starters from a season ago, but Wise isn’t overly concerned about the Bears’ ability to fill the hole.

Need to know » The Bears will look to replace the production of last year’s quarterback, Jardee Neeson, who accounted for 35 touchdowns.

Ben Lomond Scots

"Nowhere to go but up."

That sums up new Ben Lomond coach Eric Alder’s approach to the 2014 season, one in which the Scots will try to end the state’s second longest losing streak and begin to restore order in Ogden.

Alder inherits a program that went winless in 2012 and 2013, a streak of 20 consecutive defeats.

"It’s an opportunity for me and for the kids," said Alder, who spent last season as the quarterbacks coach at Mountain View and before that a decade at Sky View. "It’s a chance to start something new and change the culture."

Among the changes the Scots will unveil this season is a no-huddle spread offense, run by returning starting quarterback Rigo Vasquez.

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