CENTERVILLE — For the past few years, the Viewmont High football team has knocked on the door of postseason success. But just as the Vikings got one foot on the threshold, their playoff opponent always seemed to slam the door on their year.
Following that analogy, don't be surprised if the boys in gold and maroon again approach that door this season. This time, though, they might just kick it in.
"This is my fourth year, and we've made the playoffs every year," said Viewmont coach Robbie Gunter, whose three previous teams have lost twice in the first round and once in the quarterfinals. "We need to make the next step — not just make the playoffs but be a contender."
The Region 1 coaches believe they have that potential. The Vikings were picked third (just one vote behind No. 2 Davis) in the Deseret Morning News' annual preseason coaches straw poll. Fremont was the leading vote-getter, but Viewmont also nabbed a first-place vote.
Finishing with the league crown and No. 1 playoff seed is a top priority for the Vikings, who kick off the season tonight at 7 in Orem.
"We obviously want to win region," Gunter said. "Every time we line up, we have a goal of that. But our focus is day-to-day improvement."
One thing that bodes well for Viewmont is that it has a large senior class. The Vikings' roster is loaded with 45 upperclassmen, including versatile quarterback Greg Madsen, linebacker/tight end Anthony Hill, linemen Jesse Farnsworth, Spencer Loock and Scott Hansen, and linebacker Tyler Anderson.
"The seniors have set a good example . . . I like their work ethic," Gunter said. "This group of kids has shown great effort. They've just really done a nice job."
Viewmont has five starters back on both sides of the ball, but Gunter believes the defense is a bit further ahead at this point. He's hoping for more consistency out of his offensive unit, which produced big numbers last season (27.3 points per game) except for a couple of early season hiccups and an uncharacteristic, seven-point playoff performance.
"Our defense is really looking good," he said. "That's one part of our game right now that's solid. They're flying around."
The defenders will have to keep doing that to challenge in what should be another strong league season. One advantage Viewmont has, though, is its schedule. The Vikings have to travel to Northridge, but they get Fremont and Davis at home.
"I think it's loaded," Gunter said of Region 1. "Looking at the teams, we don't have a clear-cut champ . . . We will have to work harder than ever to compete in this region."
Just don't be surprised if they're knocking down and kicking in doors in a couple of months.
Viewmont Vikings 2006 football season preview
Coach: Robbie Gunter enters his fourth season at Viewmont after going 17-14 the first three years.
Key players: Greg Madsen is as close to a star as Viewmont has right now. The quarterback is dangerous with his arm and feet. Last year, he threw for 737 yards, rushed for 717 yards and accounted for 19 touchdowns. Anthony Hill is a strong two-way guy (TE/LB). He and Tyler Anderson (LB) each had 70 tackles last year.Linemen Jesse Farnsworth, Spencer Loock and Scott Hansen give Viewmont a strong presence in the trenches.
Strengths: Leadership should be solid for the Vikings, who have a big senior class (45) and good talent despite the lack of superstars.
Question marks: Can offense pick it up and consistently produce? Do the Vikings have the guns to keep up with Fremont and Davis in this tough region? Can they go deeper in the postseason?
Last season: 6-4, 2nd in Region 1, lost in first round
Projected Region 1 finish: Third.
Postseason possibilities: Count on the Vikings to be there again, and don't be shocked if they get past their early round struggles.
Aug. 18 — at Orem, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 — at Alta, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 — BOUNTIFUL, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 — at Northridge, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 — at Clearfield, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 — FREMONT, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 — DAVIS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 — at Weber, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 — LAYTON, 7 p.m.