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High school football: Uintah Utes 2009 preview

Coming into his third year with the program, Uintah head football coach Doug Harding has high hopes for his squad.

With several region and classification changes happening prior to 2009, Uintah has been bumped up into Class 4A, setting the Utes up for what they hope could be a breakout year.

"It's a big thing for us to get out there and let everyone know we are serious," Harding said.

With returning starters Jarom Tollefson and Kalen Williams returning to the offensive line, the Utes understand that their front line is their anchor.

"With several returning starters, we are going to be a lot better up front," said Harding.

Besides the offensive line, the Utes also have a big advantage on defense with their linebackers. If they can manage to keep both the offense and the defense playing at the same level, there is no reason why this team can't win.

On paper, Uintah is the new team that everyone is looking to make an example of. In reality, Harding is very optimistic his team can shake things up in the new class.

"We need to have success, that is what we're stressing," explained Harding. "Our goal is to pick up a region championship, then focus and make a run."

Uintah Utes 2009 at a glance

Coach: Doug Harding is in his third year at Uintah with a 6-13 record.

Key Players: Offensive lineman Jarom Tollefson, Kaylen Williams, Ryker Thacker and TJ Hiatt all know their duties and are ready to take on any team that comes their way.

Strengths: Only one player from last year's offensive line was lost over the summer, so teams can expect a fight between the lines. Also, this is a new experience for a team coming out of 3A so don't expect the Utes to take it for granted.

Concerns: Being one of the new teams moving up to 4A isn't going to be easy. With teams like Timpview and Mountain Crest standing atop Class 4A, this could be one of the toughest seasons Uintah will ever play.

Last Year: 5-4, missed playoffs.

Predicted Region 8 finish: Fifth

Postseason possibilities: A new team can always make trouble for the big fish. If this team can pick up some early wins and build some confidence, there is no reason why they cant be a playoff team.

2009 Schedule

Aug. 21 — DESERT HILLS, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — CARBON, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5 — DIXIE, 10 a.m.

Sept. 11 — at Union, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — SPANISH FORK, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 — at Springville, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 — MAPLE MOUNTAIN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 15 — MOFFAT, COLO., 7 p.m.

Oct. 22 — at Payson, 7 p.m.

e-mail: cjohnson@desnews.com