On July 17, the Salt Lake Tribune published a preview of the Riverton High School football team. Here is what they said.
IN THE TRENCHES
Coach Mike Miller was out for this practice. Not that it was a big deal. The Silverwolves had plenty of assistant coaches pushing the athletes, who practiced for nearly three hours doing sprint and weight exercises.
Meanwhile, Miller's wife had a special surprise for him the day before his team practiced. She took him to Las Vegas for their 18th wedding anniversary.
Anyway, it's hard not to think Riverton as a serious contender for the Class 5A state title with these positives: The Silverwolves return 16 starters, and the ones they did lose were seniors, in addition to having their starting quarterback, Davis Johnson, for another year.
Therefore, talks of a state championship can't help but slip out of the players' mouths.
"We expect to contend for the state title," senior safety Matt Maughan said. "We expect nothing short of it."
But the players will have to work hard for it.
"I think every team has those goals [such as winning a state title] going into the season," Miller said. "But when you think about long-term goals, you have to take it week by week. Right now, we're looking forward to playing Timpanogos," the Silverwolves' first opponent on Aug. 22.
There were rumors the Silverwolves were doing away with their wing-T offense, but Miller said they're going to stick with it. Which is the way he wants it, since he has plenty of weapons to use.
Let's start with the O-line.
Everyone's back. That's bad news for Region 3 contenders like Bingham and Hunter, and possibly Kearns. The line is made up of seniors Jordan Parker Nick Chavez and Kevin Clark and sophomore Ben Lindsey. These guys aren't that big -- their average weight is about 230, Miller said - but they're fast and strong.
Other key offensive contributors are wide receiver Tad Carter, running backs Paydon Newman (who recently got his appendix removed) and Dan Hoffman and quarterback Davis Johnson - all seniors.
Oh, let's not forget that Riverton have their two leading rushers from last year back, in junior Dillion Draper and Zach Spencer. They split time in the backfield and combined for more than 1,400 yards rushing. Senior Josh Holland will also be a big part of the running attack.
"We will use so many backs in and out of the game," Miller said.
Don't think all of Riverton's talent lies on the offensive side. The Silverwolves also have some strong defensive players.
"I've got a real good group of kids coming back," Miller said.
Three lineman will be important: Eric Briggs, Jacob Green and Zack Bybee - all seniors. Linebackers Matt Aston will be a leader, as he returns for his last season with already having two years of varsity experience.
And once Miller gets going on his players, he can't seem to stop talking about how talented they are. Others include linebackers Py Johnson and Tone Rich, defensive back Marco Trujillo and safety Matt Maughan.
This group should intimate many opponents this season.
Davis Johnson became the starting QB during the second part of last season after Miller decided to use Aaron Juassi as more of a running threat. Since then, Miller believes he's got the right person to direct his team.
Especially when Johnson could be a lineman (though, of course, the Silverwolves are already stacked in that department). He stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 220 pounds.
And of course he can throw.
"His leadership is good, he's got a good arm and he's competitive," Miller said of Johnson.
THE NEW GUY
Technically, Ben Lindsey is not a new guy - though he's very young. As a sophomore, he was part of the starting offensive line, and he will continue to be a key lineman this season.
He's definitely a player to watch this year, and the next two.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Let's say it again: The Silverwolves are loaded.
Even Miller said he's got a good special team, as he returns his kicker, in Mike Allen. "That's all he does, kick, and goes to camps" Miller said.
As of now, Riverton doesn't have a true big name -someone like Brigham Young commit Ryan Mulitalo at Hunter or all the Division I prospects at Bingham. But Miller expects his players to make such an impact during the regular season that a few of them will get college offers eventually.
"Things will take care of themselves," Miller said.
Just like any other season, the Silverwolves want the region title, as they will likely be a threat to any team come state playoff time.
2008 football schedule
Aug. 22 – TIMPANOGOS. Aug. 29 – TAYLORSVILLE. Sept. 5 – at Pleasant Grove. Sept. 12 – at Hillcrest. Sept. 19 – at Jordan. Sept. 25 – COPPER HILLS*. Oct. 3 – WEST JORDAN*. Oct. 10 – BINGHAM*. Oct. 15 – at Kearns*. Oct. 23 – at Hunter*.
2007 results (6-5, 3-2)
Aug. 17 - at Timpanogos 27-24. Aug. 24 - at Taylorsville 19-0. Aug. 31 - PLEASANT GROVE 13-20. Sept. 7 - HILLCREST 56-14. Sept. 14 - JORDAN 6-27. Sept. 21 - at Copper Hills* 33-14. Sept. 28 - at West Jordan* 21-14. Oct. 5 - at Bingham* 12-42. Oct. 12 - KEARNS* 20-17. Oct. 18 - HUNTER* 0-23. Oct. 26 - at Skyline# 21-36.
* - Region 3 games. Home games in CAPS.
# - Denotes playoff games.