CEDAR — No matter the personnel, year after year Cedar finds a way to compete and win football games. Even this year, despite the smallest team coach Todd Peacock has had in 19 years at the program, the Redmen will be in the hunt.
A year ago Cedar finished with a 6-6 mark and narrowly lost to Park City in the quarterfinals 11-8. A combined nine starters are back from that team in what Peacock expects to be a good season.
"I love our group, they're small but they're coachable. They've got a real team attitude about them. I'm always kind of cautiously optimistic when the season starts," said Peacock.
A big reason for the optimism is Cedar's team speed and commitment to the weight room.
Senior Jesse Woods is the perfect example of That. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, the offensive and defensive line starter has already set the school record in the squat and the power clean, and may set the bench press record as well before he graduates.
"He's the strongest kid I've had in my 19 years. Started both ways last year, and he'll probably be one of the biggest leaders," said Peacock.
Woods' quickness and strength makes him the prototypical offensive lineman for Cedar's option offense. Out of necessity the old-school offense is getting a bit of a face lift this year. The team has three excellent fullbacks in Adam Rice, Matt Grover and Bryson Warby.
Instead of having just one fullback on the field in front of two tailbacks, Peacock is toying around with starting two fullbacks.
"Everybody keys on one fullback, so I thought lets put two fullbacks back there and now we can go either direction," said Peacock.
Rice is more of the traditional smash-mouth fullback, whereas Grover is a faster tailback and Warby a combination of the two.
With smaller linemen and an offense featuring fullbacks, Peacock doesn't expect his team to be a big-play offense. That's why limiting the turnovers will be key.
Jackson Carter will get the nod at quarterback this year. He split time last year with Kai Eldredge, but Eldredge transferred to Hawaii to play for Punahou High School. Carter will also play a key role defensively at safety.
"He's a key kid for us, he's a real smart kid and he's a good leader," said Peacock.
Defensively there's a bit of uncertainty heading into the season, but Peacock said he has complete faith in defensive coordinator Jason Lee that everything will sort itself by the season opener on Aug. 21.
Cedar Redmen at a glance
Coach: Todd Peacock is in his 19th year at Cedar with a 109-89-1 record. Overall this is his 23rd year with a 131-104-1 record.
Key Players: Jesse Woods will anchor the offensive and defensive line. Adam Rice, Matt Grover and Bryson Warby will all share time at fullback, with Grover also a returning starter at linebacker. Treyson Fullmer will start in the secondary and running back, and he'll be joined in the secondary by Jackson Carter, who will be taking over at quarterback full time this year.
Strengths: Offensively, Cedar has a solid foundation to build on with four returning starters on the offensive line led by Woods. With three solid fullbacks and experience at quarterback, the potential is there for the Redmen to be a grind-it-out offense. Cedar's overall team speed is pretty good as well.
Concerns: The team is undersized, which isn't a huge concern with the option offense but it might be a problem defensively against some of the bigger teams in the state. Cedar will need to get things figured out quickly because it opens the season at Class 5A's American Fork.
Last year: 6-6, lost to Park City in the quarterfinals
Predicted Region 9 (3A) finish: Second.
Postseason possibilities: With a likely first-round home playoff game, Cedar should advance to the quarterfinals again. Beyond that, it will likely depend on how the defense comes together this year.
Aug. 21 — at American Fork, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — at Millard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 — VIRGIN VALLEY, NEV., 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — MANTI, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — PINE VIEW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — DIXIE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 — DESERT HILLS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — at Canyon View, 7 p.m.