CEDAR CITY – Cedar High coach Josh Bennett installed the spread offense last year to take advantage of his slew of offensive weapons, namely Region 9 preseason co-player of the year Mason Fakahua and the bevy of talent surrounding him at the skill positions. Fakahua has graduated, along with playmakers Drake Lewis and Derek Ball. But the spread offense is staying.
“We will make some adjustments,” said Bennett. “We will run it out of more formations and utilize the talent that we have this year. We will run the ball more out of it than we did last year. But we also plan to run some play-action.
Replacing Fakahua will be Mike Anker. Bennett also plans to use Luke Maggio at quarterback in wildcat formations. Neither have any varsity experience passing the ball, but Bennett is confident that both will be able to run the offense.
“We will use Anker in passing situations,” said Bennett. “Maggio is an athlete. We plan to utilize him at several positions on both sides of the ball.”
Joining Anker in the backfield will be returning running backs Trenton Maurer (558 yards rushing/6.3 yards per carry), Drake Fakahua (6.0 ypc) and newcomer Markus Johnson.
“Trent led our running attack last year,” said Bennett. “Drake comes into camp the most improved. He has lost 30 pounds from last season and has picked up considerable speed. He will be one to watch this year.”
Lining up at receiver will be Maggio out of the slot, with Kevin Crawley and Aiden Demayo at the wideouts.
“Our strengths this year will be our offensive and defensive fronts,” Bennett said. “They have size and athleticism. They have picked up our blocking schemes and will be significant in both our offensive and defensive attacks.”
Juniors Kobee Lata and Hayden Giles return as prominent performers. Joining them will be Drew Fakahua, Bryce Crowley, Max Mackert, Dax Hirschi, Dan Jordan (30 tackles, 2 sacks) and Nate Ellis.
Johnson will also lead the linebackers on the inside. Giles and Drake Fakahua will play the other linebacker spots. In the defensive backfield, Maurer (37 tackles), Maggio (32 tackles) and Demayo will play the safety and corner positions.
“I would love to be able to play 22 kids,” said Bennett. “We don’t have the enrollment that some of our region foes have. In some spots, there is a significant drop in experience and the talent that develops with that experience. So we have to rely on several players to go both ways.
“If we can stay away from the injuries that hurt us last year we will have a good year. Last year was tough when Drake (Lewis), then Mason (Fakahua) went down.”
Maurer said unity will be a big factor as well.
“We are a more close-knit team coming out of camp this year,” he said. “We are also more familiar with the offensive schemes that were new to us last year. Those are the two differences from last year.”
The Redmen start the year with a home game against Provo on Friday. Cedar then goes on three straight road trips, including the region-opener against rival Canyon View.
Coach Josh Bennett
2016 Results (4-6, 1-4)
Provo 35, Cedar 21
Cedar 34, Virgin Valley 13
Cedar 28, Canyon View 8
Cedar 33, Juab 6
Desert Hills 18, Cedar 17
Dixie 24, Cedar 7
Snow Canyon 17, Cedar 14
Cedar 37, Hurricane 29
Pine View 18, Cedar 13
Park City 28, Cedar 21
2017 schedule (home games bolded)
Aug. 18 – vs. Provo
Aug. 25 – at Juab
Sept. 1 – at North Sanpete
Sept. 8 – at Canyon View
Sept. 15 – vs. Desert Hills
Sept. 22 – at Hurricane
Sept. 29 – at Snow Canyon
Oct. 5 – bye
Oct. 11 – vs. Pine View
Oct. 19 – vs. Dixie
Returning starters: Offense 5, defense 6
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