PLAIN CITY — Things can turn quickly turn around for football teams in balanced Region 1. Although Fremont won just one league game last year and took last place, no one expects the Silver Wolves to stay in the cellar in 2009.
And especially not Fremont.
"We know we're underdogs after last year," said quarterback Brody Garr. "We aren't going to go quietly."
The Silver Wolves have worked hard since last November to avoid a repeat last-place finish. They bring back some experienced and talented players, as well as some better size than last season. Second-year coach Kory Bosgieter said those characteristics aren't even his team's greatest strengths.
"It sounds goofy, but it's our unity," Bosgieter said. "Our guys like each other. We have a tremendous group of seniors. They've done everything we've asked them since November to now."
Last year was a transition season for the Silver Wolves. Bosgieter was in his first year as head coach, the team had a new offense and 20 new starters. With more experience and a tight-knit group of players, Fremont, which lost four of its games last season by seven points or less, fully expects to improve on last season's win total and contend in Region 1.
"It's really special what we have here," Garr said. "That's (team unity) one of our biggest things. Our greatest fear is letting the guy next to us down. That's what makes us different from teams in the past is we trust each other and we don't want to let each other down."
The team will rely on captains Braxton Willie, Luke Newey and Jed Craner for leadership and big plays. Willie is a linebacker/tight end, Newey will anchor the offensive line and Craner is a tight end/defensive back and a defending state wrestling champion.
Garr, Bosgieter said, has shown a lot of improvement since last season and will lead a multiple-set offense. Tate Lewis will likely be his top target.
"Last year we had a new offense and it's going to help having played in it a year," Bosgieter said.
Defensively, the Silver Wolves are thrilled with the presence of ends Malcolm Jenkins and Josh Talbot. They may be as good as any book-end combination in Region 1. Big contributions are also expected from safety Matt Hunt and linebacker Bridger Musgrave.
Fremont has some talent, but Bosgieter said his team will rely more on intangibles than big stars.
"Our unity, our leadership and work ethic are going to carry us," Bosgieter said. "We're not going to run anything that nobody's seen. My heck, we're not inventing anything. If we can block and tackle, those things are going to carry us."
Fremont Silver Wolves at a glance
Coach: Kory Bosgieter is in his second season at Fremont. The Silver Wolves went 1-9 in his first year at the school. He has a 50-50 overall record, and he led Weber to a state title in 1999.
Key Players: Captains Braxton Willie (LB/TE), Luke Newey (OL) and Jed Craner (TE/DB) will play key roles for the Silver Wolves. Quarterback Brody Garr played a little last season and is ready to run the offense. Tate Lewis will be his top target in the passing game. Defensively, ends Malcolm Jenkins and Josh Talbot are standouts. Safety Matt Hunt and linebacker Bridger Musgrave will also contribute defensively.
Strengths: Unity and chemistry will be solid for Fremont this year, and both will come in handy during a long season. The Silver Wolves should be good defensively, and the team has good depth. There are some younger players in the program who will likely earn varsity time this season, adding to the depth.
Concerns: Fremont may lack the firepower to compete in games that turn into shootouts. It also has to win games early so that it doesn't fall into a funk, but the early portion of the schedule is very manageable. The Silver Wolves also have to find a way to win the close games after going 0-4 in games decided by seven points or less last season.
Last year: 1-9, did not qualify for the playoffs
Predicted Region 1 finish: Sixth
Postseason possibilities: The Silver Wolves will be better than last season, and will certainly contend for a playoff spot. Fremont has to finish in the top five in Region 1 to reach the playoffs and that's manageable. If the Silver Wolves do get in the playoffs, though, they aren't likely to advance past the first round.
Aug. 21 — vs. Sky View at USU, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — at Roy, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 — CLEARFIELD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — at Weber, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — SYRACUSE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — at Layton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — NORTHRIDGE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — DAVIS, 7 p.m.