Grantsville players feel like they are not getting a whole lot of love from the community as they kick off the 2014 season Friday night at Cedar.
“I’m excited to prove people wrong,” said third-year starting quarterback Nephi Meono. “Everybody thinks we’re in a rebuilding mode after last season, but I feel like we’re just reloading and can be better than last year.”
Grantsville finished 7–4 last season, and lost in the quarterfinals at Juab 28–21.
“We have a lot more speed this year, and everybody is doing their assignments,” Meono said.
“I think we’re going to surprise some people; around the community we’re not getting any sugar,” said senior running back/middle linebacker Wyatt Barrus.
“We did have a lot of good athletes last year,” Barrus said. “What people don’t realize is that we have a lot of good players back this year. Plus, guys who have been waiting and preparing to play can be just as good or even a little better than what we had last year. We also have a lot of unity on this team.”
Head coach Tony Cloward likes how the squad is coming together so far.
“We return a lot of key guys on offense this year, most importantly our quarterback who is a three-year starter. With him and several other weapons we should be very good on offense,” Cloward said.
“We have a lot of new faces on defense but the same scheme. With a little experience we should be able to maintain our dominate defensive ways,” the coach said.
Grantsville recorded four shutouts last season, and allowed only one touchdown in two other games.
“On the defensive line we are big and fast with Cade Coon, Colton Adams, Gavin Eyre, and Jonah Bartley. We should be very good on the offensive line, anchored by Colton Adams along with seniors Trever Gardner, AJ Weaver, Ryan Egan and Dean Fraser,” the coach said.
“Our line is really physical,” Adams said. “We’re a lot different from last year in that we lose some size with our running backs, but the speed of our backs is better. They also have the ability to read blocks and know where to run. Last year our backs just ran over people.”
The Cowboys’ three goals this season are to win the county championship, then win the region championship and then the state championship.
Each practice the players flip over huge tires on the practice field three times to signify the three team goals for the season.
“We have a very difficult schedule as usual. Cedar City is up first from the strong southern region, then Tooele who is vastly improved. Add Manti, Juab, Morgan and the defending state champs Judge in there and we have our hands full,” Cloward said.
“Cedar is very good. They were young last year and have everyone back. We saw them a little at camp, they should be very good,” the coach said.
The Redmen play in the powerful 3AA South, while the Cowboys are in the 3A North.
Grantsville lost defensive coordinator Curtis Ware, who shifted over to coach at Stansbury.
Cloward said assistant coach Loren Anderson will handle most of the offensive responsibilities while assistant Cory Landon will take care of most of the defensive responsibilities.
“I will be playing a bigger part with both sides of the ball including special teams,” Cloward said.
Grantsville can start earning some of that hometown love on Friday night in Cedar City.