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High school football: Sky View will lean on lines as skill players grow

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Note: Sky View finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2009 and a 3-2 mark in Region 5. It lost to Springville, 35-14, in the 4A first round.

SMITHFIELD — Sometimes you have to take a step back as a football program in order to move forward.

Last year, Sky View failed to advance past the first round of the 4A state playoffs for the first time in four years. But there was a silver lining for the Bobcats. Several younger players gained valuable varsity experience, and they'll be looking to lift their team to greater heights in 2010.

"I feel really strong about it if we can stay healthy, obviously that's always a key," Sky View coach Craig Anhder said of his team's outlook in 2010. "We've got great depth. We got a lot of big guys returning, great speed. We've done well in our camps, and our workouts have had tons of kids coming out every day."

Sky View looks to be one of 4A's top teams this season and won't have many weaknesses. The Bobcats' greatest strength will probably be a big and experienced defensive line.

"That's where we're going to rally, especially early on," Anhder said. "I think they will really anchor us on our defensive front."

Three of the team's four starting defensive linemen are returning starters. Colby Vilanueva, who will be a three-year starter, recorded 59 tackles and seven sacks in 2009. Jordan Nielsen was named Region 5's defensive line MVP after he had 85 tackles, 12 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries last season. Jaren Balls is back after recording 61 tackles and four sacks.

While the Bobcats return some big players, they'll also have to fill a huge void at quarterback. Kyler Carlsen, a three-year starter, has graduated. He accounted for more than 3,500 yards of offense and 34 total touchdowns last season.

Gabe Anderson will be Sky View's triggerman this season. He hopes to be the next in a line of productive Bobcat quarterbacks following Carlsen and Jase Hill.

"I'm excited," Anderson said. "I'm looking forward to it. We've had some pretty good quarterbacks. I've got to fill big shoes."

Anhder is confident in his new quarterback.

"I think he's going to create his own shoes," the sixth-year coach said. "He's his own man. He's got his own abilities, and he's going to do a very good job for us."

Until the Bobcats open their season against Northridge, Anderson and his teammates will focus on executing the spread offense as efficiently as recent Sky View teams.

"The offense will be similar to what we've been," Anhder said. "I've seen every kind of scheme win a championship. It's the ones that can execute it at a high level down in and down out that win games. So that's our goal — just execute."

The Bobcats have a talented mix of players that got varsity experience last year, along with ones who thrived in junior varsity. Sky View went unbeaten in league play in junior varsity last season. That's one of the reasons the team has high expectations for the 2010 season, and it could be a big year for the Bobcats.

"It should be," Anhder said. "You never know. You got to go out and play the games, but we got a lot of good pieces to this puzzle that we need to put together."

Coach: Craig Anhder is entering his sixth season at Sky View with a 41-17 record. Anhder is credited with making the Bobcats — a mediocre program before he took over — a consistent contender. He is a graduate of Sky View rival Mountain Crest High.


(4 returning starters, Spread offense)

It's Gabe Anderson's turn to lead what's typically a prolific offense. The senior and first-year varsity starter at quarterback has some weapons to work with in players such as receiver Blake McKinley and tight end Don Corbell. McKinley had 25 receptions for 342 yards and five touchdowns as a junior last season. Jordan Hill and Brady Martin will also play key roles at receiver.


(5 returning starters)

New defensive coordinator Eric Alder looks to utilize the strength and talents of defensive tackles Colby Vilanueva and Jaren Balls, and defensive end Jordan Nielsen. Alder is changing the defense, making it a four-man front instead of a three-man. The starters at linebacker have yet to be determined, and Alder has several quality players to choose from. A player to watch in the secondary is Colton Arave, who had five interceptions at safety last year.

Coaches preseason Region 5 straw poll: Third

Deseret News Region 5 prediction: Second

Bottom line: The Bobcats have eyed the 2010 season as one in which they could make some major noise in the 4A playoffs. With the talent they have, and especially the size they have in the trenches, it's easy to see why. Sky View will be among the contenders for the Region 5 title, and is capable of reaching Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 4A semifinals.

2010 Schedule

Aug. 20 – NORTHRIDGE (at Utah State), 7 p.m.

Aug. 27 – COTTONWOOD, 7 p.m.

Sept. 3 – at Jordan, 7 p.m.

Sept. 10 – OREM, 7 p.m.

Sept. 17 – at Box Elder, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24 – LOGAN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 1 – at Ogden, 7 p.m.

Oct. 8 – BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 21 – at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com