Skyline Eagles 2009 preview

By John Coon
Deseret News
Published Aug. 7

  Tradition at Skyline dictates the Eagles are perennial state title contenders. It is the way things have
developed from the time
Roger Dupaix began building up the Eagles football program more than two
decades ago.
  Those championship expectations have not seen
fulfillment since 2005. Given how accustomed Skyline
grew to winning state titles throughout the 90s, a three-
year drought feels like an eternity.
  Coming up short only fuels desires to return the
Eagles to the pinnacle of 5A football. This year's
senior class understands their path to a
championship hinges on what they do as early as
week one.
  "Everyone's goal is a state championship," senior
defensive back
Brian Orr said. "But we've got to get
there first by looking at it one step at a time."
  Skyline already has a good start just by returning
some solid playmakers at different positions.
Algernon Brown, a three- year starter, returns to lead
the backfield once again. The senior, who has
committed to play for BYU, will be focal point for most
opposing defenses as they seek a way to contain the
Eagles' option attack.
  Brown is a tough customer when it comes to
stopping him. He missed some games because of
injuries as a junior, but still managed to rack up 840
yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards
per carry. If Brown stays full healthy, it's not hard to
see him eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark as a senior.
  "He should have a great year," Dupaix said.
  That prediction could just as easily cover
Andy
Rounds
- Brown's running mate in the backfield.
The junior made a name for himself as a sprinter
on Skyline's track team. Rounds finished fourth in the 400 at the 5A state meet with a time of 48.50
seconds. Rounds should offer a speedy option to contrast Brown's power running style.
  A third element in the option offense will be
Chase Dunford - the incoming senior quarterback. Dunford
led the JV team last season and Dupaix thinks what he did there has prepared him to step up to the next
level. Dunford understands expectations will be heightened for him in that role since a good quarterback
is essentially the lynchpin for the whole offense.
  "Skyline has always had a great tradition at quarterback," Dunford said. "It feels like an honor to be one
of them. Hopefully, I can rise up to the expectations a bit and succeed."
  As good as things look on offense, they look even better on defense where multiple starters and
contributors return across the board.
Devin Filipe and Orr are returning starters on the defensive line and
in the secondary respectively Joining Filipe in the front seven are seniors
Vincent Fonua, Garrett
Battaglia
and Mitch Larsen.
  The secondary has plenty of depth alongside Orr with
Taylor Daily, Carson Hymas and Jared Hultquist
all slated to contribute there. Experience isn't the only defensive asset for Skyline. The Eagles also
possess a degree of tenacity that should make life tough for offenses on Friday nights.
  "Our motto is 'wolf pack'," Larsen said. "It's just our mentality on defense. We always swarm to the ball.
Get as many jerseys on the other guy as we can."
  Besides a Region 2 changeover that reunites Skyline with some traditional rivals, the Eagles will also
see the return of an important non-league rivalry. Olympus and Skyline agreed to resume the Battle for
the Rock this fall for the first time since 2005. Ex-Titan coach
Mark Smith halted the annual series a few
years ago because he did not think he had enough numbers to be competitive with the Eagles. That
decision proved unpopular at both schools and both teams are glad to have that bit of tradition restored.
  "We've all circled that date on our calendars," Orr said.
At a glance

 Coach: Roger DuPaix, the architect of Skyline's
football dynasty, is entering his 24th season at the
school with a record of 226-61. Overall, he is
embarking on his 33rd season as a head coach and
sports a 281-99 record.
 
Key Players: Skyline will get a big boost just by
returning senior fullback Algernon Brown. Injuries
limited Brown a little during his junior season, but when
healthy he is hard to stop. Chase Dunford had a
successful run as the JV Quarterback in '08 and now
takes over the position at the varsity level. Devin Filipe
and Brian Orr are both returning starters on defense.
 
Strengths: Things could not look better for Skyline on
defense and in the backfield. Those areas always need
to be at peak level for the Eagles to dominate and that
certainly looks to be the case this year. Depth, talent
and experience are in abundant qualities in both areas.
 
Concerns: Passing has never been a big element in
Skyline's offense, but it will need to have more than a
token role when the 5A tournament rolls around. If
Dunford can make plays through the air as needed, it
will keep teams from keying on the run game alone.
 
Predicted Region 2 finish: Second.
 
Postseason Possibilities: Skyline reached the 5A
semifinals a year ago and with the amount of returning
talent, another semifinal berth is not out of the
question. While a trip to the finals or even claiming a
state title might be less likely, it is never wise to count
the Eagles out.