rice city – With a mixture of familiar and new faces, the Cedar High School football team is looking to be even more competitive this season.
George News/Cedar City News after an early morning brawl on Friday, Josh Bennett, who is now beginning his eighth year as head coach, said he has high expectations for this year’s team.
The Reds won 2-8 last year, with victories over Canyon View and Hurricane. Although the Reds have endured quite a few blowouts, their two losses were by one point each, including a 34-33 home defeat last October at the hands of eventual Zone 10 champions Desert Hills.
“I think we bring back nine or ten players on either side of the ball, whether they started last year or played a long time,” Bennett said. “We have some depth in some areas, while in others we are not that deep. But overall, we have a good group of kids. Our first class has good leadership, which always makes a difference.”
Junior quarterback Koden Lut, who threw for over 1,700 yards and 11 TDs last year, will be back, as well as dashing for 180 yards and two TDs. He is expected to be a double threat once again, thanks to a strong attacking streak that includes returning debutants Bryson Bennett, Matthew Villa-Roe, Xander Weaver and Trent Durbin.
Among Lunt’s potential passing targets are returning recipients Conner Hardman, a senior, and young Ammon York and Tarden Elliott.
“He was a defensive player last year, but he’s going to be playing more on the offensive side of the ball this year,” Bennett said of Elliott.
Bennett added that both York and Elliott are expected to play in the center of defence, along with senior Damian McGarvie, who missed the end of last season when he tore up the AFC Champions League.
Meanwhile, the coach’s son, Bryson Bennett, will provide support as a full back, while fellow senior Villa Rowe will do double duty as captain on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, we have quite a few returning players,” coach Bennett said. “It’s just about staying healthy, progressing, and getting better throughout the year.”
Bennett said special teams will also get an extra focus this year.
“We have some really good comebacks like Devin Crenshaw and TreDyn Elliot,” he said.
“We also have a couple of really good players,” Bennett said, adding that Edgar Hernandez-Hinojosa will take on the kicking and kicking duties, while fellow senior Parker Kocifer will take on field goals.
“I think you’ll see some good things from them,” Bennett said.
Bennett said his show takes pride in the fact that nearly all of his players have been on the program since they were beginners.
“We play with our kids who have been here with us for four years, and we do it the right way,” he said. “These guys have really developed themselves and put themselves in a good position to have a great year.”
Bennett’s coaching staff includes several new members, including offensive coordinator Sam Elliott, offensive line coach Noah Taitava, special teams coordinator Tyler Monks, secondary coach Nate Porter and defensive line coach Jason Linnell.
Cedar will host Spanish Fork in their season opener on Friday, August 12th. It will be the first of five consecutive home games for the Reds, who will then play three of their last four matches on the road.
“We have a challenging schedule, but we are looking forward to itBennett said. “Hopefully we can benefit from being at home this year. We have always felt like a good football team.”
Cedar’s second match will be on August 19 against Jawab Wasps, who defeated the Reds 29-28 at Jawab Stadium last year in the final match of the match. The Reds’ third competition will be on August 26 against the Crosstown Canyon View contender.
The following week, on September 2, the Zone 10 schedule will begin, with Cedar Snow Canyon hosting.
Cedar’s only three road games this season are September 16 in Pine View, October 7 at Desert Hills and October 12 at Crimson Cliffs.
“We are looking forward to a fun year with an amazing group of kids,” Bennett added. “We are fortunate to have worked with them.”
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