A playoff loss to end the 2016 season keeps Layton Christian coach Andru Jones from getting the proper amount of sleep, even nine months after it happened.
After beating Milford in a regular-season game, the Eagles fell 34-33 when they missed an extra point that would have extended the road playoff contest.
“I got talked out of going for two,” Jones said. “It still keeps me up at night. I’m usually more of an aggressive coach. I should’ve gone with my guts.”
The Eagles have a couple of running backs with returning varsity experience as well as three of five offensive linemen. The Eagles face a schedule that includes a trip to Mission Viejo, Calif., for a game against San Lorenzo Valley (Calif.), as part of the Brothers In Arms Classic.
“I feel like last year, when we got into tough situations, our kids didn’t know how to react,” Jones said about strengthening the schedule.
He wants his team to experience something akin to the two state titles he won as a player while at Northridge (2001, 2002).
“I would trade those two to give my players one,” Jones said. “Hopefully, one day.”
LAYTON CHRISTIAN EAGLES
Coach • Andru Jones, second year
Last season • 7-4, 2-2 in 1A North; Advanced to Class 1A opening round
State title game appearances • 2011
Aug. 18 • North Summit, 4 p.m.
Aug. 25 • at American Leadership, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 • Milford, 4 p.m.
Sept. 8 • at Parowan, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 (Sat.) • vs San Lorenzo Valley in Mission Viejo, Calif., 8:15 a.m.
Sept. 22 • Kanab, 4 p.m.
Sept. 29 • Monticello, 4 p.m.
Oct. 6 • Altamont, 4 p.m.
Oct. 13 • at Rich, 4 p.m.
Oct. 18 (Wed.) • at Duchesne, 7 p.m.
Behind center • One player who could use some seasoning is freshman Jaice Hall (6 foot, 160 pounds), who will get the nod at quarterback. “He’s got a linebacker mentality for someone who plays quarterback,” Jones said. “He’s a pup right now. But he’s really good and very smart with the ball.” The two running backs who return are senior Ryleigh McCombs (5-9, 185) and junior Dustin Moffo (6-1, 190). McCombs got 31 carries last year, while Moffo didn’t see as many chances. Both saw regular action on defense.
Ball hawks • Jones will welcome a basketball player onto the gridiron as senior Malcolm Smauldon (6-4, 180) makes his way onto the field. “He’s really good, very quick — good at the high ball outside,” Jones said. Smauldon also will apply his ball-grabbing ability to the defensive side because he’s slated to start at free safety. Ulric Sutton (5-6, 120) will join Smauldon as part of the receiver set and play cornerback on the other side of the ball.
In the trenches • The two-way players for the Eagles along the line will be big, with the average weight at 270 pounds. That should cause some consternation among small-school rivals. Parker Sewell (6-4, 350) is a senior who is the biggest of the lot, and he’ll play at center and defensive tackle. Senior Caleb Kensinger (6-4, 270) will be at right guard and a tackle spot defensively. Senior Anthony Harding (6-0, 250) will attack on defense from an end spot as well as holding down an offensive guard slot, while junior Cal Allen (5-9, 210) is another defensive end.
Hit men • Moffo would have seen action as a sophomore if he hadn’t gotten injured in the third week last season. But he’s one of Layton Christian’s best tacklers, and he’ll apply his skills at linebacker. Colter Wheelright (5-10, 150) is only a sophomore and still somewhat slight of frame — but bigger than last season, according to the coach. The Eagles will be heavy in the secondary defensively, with five on the field much of the time, but look for McCombs to move into a linebacker role after playing at cornerback a year ago.
Key returners • Parker Sewell, Sr. (C/DT); Ryleigh McCombs, Sr. (RB/LB); Dustin Moffo, Jr. (RB/LB); Anthony Harding, Sr. (OG/DE)
Key losses • Christian Moffo, RB/LB; Braxton Llewelyn, QB; Weston Thomas, LB/RB; Pedro Silva, WR
The next wave • Jaice Hall, Fr. (QB); Malcolm Smauldon, Sr. (WR/FS); Ulric Sutton, Soph. (WR/CB); Colter Wheelright, Soph. (OLB)