OGDEN — Through the years Ben Lomond has often been viewed as a gimme win. That's something Jeff Kilts wanted to change when he took over the program prior to the 2007 season, and slowly but surely he's succeeding.
It's been a matter of baby steps the past two years, but this year he's hoping the program takes the next step.
"My hope is people continue to look past us. We snuck up on some guys in the last couple of years that probably should've beat us," said Kilts.
Even in the extremely difficult Region 11, don't expect anyone to overlook Ben Lomond. The Scots return eight starters on both sides of the ball and have a total of 25 seniors. That's perhaps the most encouraging sign about the direction of the program.
Ben Lomond ended the 2007 season with eight seniors and the following year just nine seniors.
"It's kind of tough when you take a bunch of sophomores and juniors and you're playing against Logan's seniors; it just doesn't equate," said Kilts. "One of the biggest things I wanted to do was get the numbers up."
Now that the numbers are there, the next step is winning football games. The trenches might hold the key.
A year ago lack of depth on the line was a big problem. This year it's an asset and Kilts plans on using it. He prefers leaner and meaner players on the offensive line in his spread offense, and this year he has options. That's great news for the defense as well.
"The line was a big issue last year, just getting the offensive line up to speed is going to be a big push this year," said Kilts.
As is often the case at Ben Lomond, Kilts said there's no shortage of skill position players. Jared Jackson and Bridger Smith are talented, speedy receivers who can thrive in the spread offense. Jackson had a fantastic sophomore season but injuries really limited his contributions last year.
Carson Chadwick is one player in particular who hopes Jackson remains healthy. The senior quarterback is a returning starter for the Scots and poised for a big year.
"He's really made a lot of improvements in the passing game," said Kilts, who added that Chadwick is an excellent runner as well. "The transition from being a junior to senior should help."
Overall, Kilts is excited about the progress of the program and hopes the experience of his many seniors makes a difference.
Ben Lomond Scots 2009 at a glance
Coach: Jeff Kilts is in his third year at Ben Lomond with a 5-16 record. His overall record in 10 years in Utah is 34-54.
Key Players: Marco Perez is an outstanding defensive back who picked up numerous interceptions last year. Joining him on the defense will be big guys Dalton Rettenberger and Josh Harris. Offensively the Scots will rely on quarterback Carson Chadwick and speedy receivers Jared Jackson and Bridger Smith.
Strengths: Ben Lomond is loaded with experience with eight returning starters on each side of the ball The team also features 25 seniors, which gives the team decent depth in case of injuries. With a quality offensive line and talent and experience at quarterback and wide receiver, the Scots' offense could be pretty good this year.
Concerns: For the first time in a while Ben Lomond is expected to be competitive, but how will the Scots handle those expectations? Will the leaner, meaner offensive line be able to protect the quarerback?
Last year: 3-7, lost to Grantsville in a Region 11 play-in game.
Predicted Region 11 finish: Sixth.
Postseason possibilities: Competiting in Region 11, the toughest league in 3A, simply making the playoffs will be a challenge for Ben Lomond.
Aug. 21 — UNION, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 — at Tooele, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — at Ogden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — at Bear River, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — JUDGE MEMORIAL, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Bye
Oct. 9 — MORGAN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — JUAN DIEGO, 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 — at Grantsville, 7 p.m.