Note: Lehi finished with an 8-4 overall record in 2016 and tied for second in Region 4 with a 4-2 record. It lost to Bingham 37-14 in 5A quarterfinals.
LEHI — Things are different at Lehi these days. An improved football product, along with some realignment that suits the school's numbers better, has players and coaches optimistic for the future and confident in their chances.
One of the biggest boosts to the Pioneers' confidence was securing a second-place finish last season in Region 4, a region that is considered by many to be the state's best. The Pioneers now reside within Region 6, and with 15 returning starters from last year's team, there's good reason for optimism.
"We're excited and feel we've been able to raise the level of play here," said Lehi coach Ed Larson. "I like the attitude I've been seeing with the team and it's exciting to see the community behind us. We think we have the potential to do some things this year that haven't been done for a while, but there's still a lot of work to be done and we have to stay healthy."
Larson is quick to deflect any praise his way, preferring to credit his players and others who have played big roles.
“I have a great assistant staff here, so they deserve a ton of credit. I could take off and golf and our team wouldn’t miss a beat. They’ve taken care of all the little things and I don’t want them to be overlooked for anything we’ve accomplished here.”
As far as the new competition in Region 6, Larson is mindful of the challenge, along with the challenge of a pre-region schedule that includes teams like Alta, Springville and Lone Peak.
“Every team we play out of region made the playoffs last year,” Larson said. “So we’re going to have to be ready to go right away. The kids are confident, though, and want to play the best teams out there.”
Lehi Pioneers at a glance
Coach: Ed Larson is entering his fourth year as Lehi’s head coach, having led the team to a 11-21 record the past three years. He has 10 years of overall head coaching experience with a 33-66 career record. He’s a graduate of Piedmont Hills High in California.
Lehi Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Ed Larson
2016 offensive production: 31.7 ppg (7th in 5A)
-- 9 returning starters
-- Air Raid
Key offensive returning starters
-- Cammon Cooper (QB)
Cooper has risen to become one of the best quarterback prospects the state has produced in a while. The Washington State commit threw for 4,036 yards and 37 touchdowns last year.
“His skill set and talent level have been phenomenal, as has his commitment to get better and stronger," Larson said. "He’s obviously been very good for us, but we’re hoping to see him improve and I think he’s worked hard to realize that improvement.”
-- Five returning offensive linemen
“Our whole offensive line is coming back and we think that’s going to be a really good thing for us," Larson said. "They’re crucial for us in everything we do. They set the tone for everything, so we’re very happy to have our entire line back this year.”
Returning offensive starters
Cammon Cooper (QB)
Dallin Holker (TE)
Kade Moore (WR)
Brenton Southward (WR)
Carson Bell (OL)
Jase Andersen (OL)
Hayden Erickson (OL)
Ammon Critchfield (OL)
Bridger Rhoades (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
Jackson Moody (WR)
Trey Andersen (TE)
Carson Terrell (TE)
Larson's comments on his offense:
"We feel we have the type of guys on offense that can put a lot of points on the board. We're known for throwing the ball, but we're also going to look to run it. But it all starts with our offensive line and Cammon Cooper, who we have a ton of confidence in."
Keys for Offensive Success in 2017:
Nothing short of a rash of injuries to key players should work to limit Lehi this season. All the parts are there to become one of the better offenses in the state. Running the football needs to become a threat, however, so opposing defenses are kept a little off-balance.
Lehi Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Joseph Haymore
2016 defensive production: 24.7 ppg (14th in 5A)
-- 6 returning starters
-- 4-3 defense
Key defensive returning starters
-- Will Overstreet (DB)
“Will Overstreet has been our guy for the last two seasons," Larson said. "He’s our quarterback on the defense and he’s a big reason why I love my secondary so much. He’s a great leader and he’s been that for a while now.”
Returning defensive starters
Will Overstreet (DB)
Oakley Krumvieda (DB)
Qi'Sean Rust (DB)
Lincoln Bunker (LB)
Drake Knowles (DT)
Jase Andersen (DE)
Defensive newcomers to watch
Jaxson Harward (DB)
Jeremy Hansmann (LB)
Dallin Green (LB)
Larson's comments on the strength of the defense:
“Our secondary has done a great job this offseason. We have some guys returning and some new guys who have looked really good for us. We’re looking at them as a strength.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2017:
Filling holes in the front seven will be key for Lehi. The team lost some good starters in that area, and will be tested by run-heavy teams in region, such as Highland.
Coaches preseason Region 7 straw poll: Second
Deseret News Region 7 prediction: Third
Key Region Game: at Highland (Oct. 6)
Bottom line: Lehi experienced a bit of a breakthrough last season and looks poised to reach even greater heights this time around. The Pioneers should be able to score 30+ points on most teams, but the question is regarding the defense's ability to limit opposing offenses. Considering a good group of returning talent on the defensive side, Lehi should contend for the region crown and could very well make a run for the state semifinal and championship rounds held at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Aug. 18 — at Alta, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 — PINE VIEW, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 — at Lone Peak, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 — SPRINGVILLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 — at Maple Mountain, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 — OLYMPUS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 — at West, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 — at Highland, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — MURRAY, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.
Felt's Facts for Lehi High School
All-time record: 356-442-22 (95 years)
Region championships: 12 (1940, 1944, 1950, 1963, 1990, 1992, 1996 co, 1997, 1999 co, 2000 co, 2003 co, 2004 co)
Playoff appearances: 32
Current playoff appearance streak: 1 (2016)
All-time playoff record: 20-30
State championships: 2 (1980, 2000)
State championship record: 2-2
Most played rivalry: 72 meetings with American Fork dating back to 1927. American Fork leads series 49-19-4.
Felt's Factoid(s): Lehi holds the record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a playoff game: minus-54 in a 1980 Class 2A quarterfinal.
2016 — 8-4 (4-2 in Region 4 – 5A quarterfinals)
2015 — 3-7 (1-5 in Region 4 -- Missed playoffs)
2014 — 0-10 (0-6 in Region 4 -- Missed playoffs)
2013 — 5-5 (2-4 in Region 4 -- Missed playoffs)
2012 — 2-8 (0-5 in Region 4 -- Missed playoffs)
Lehi coaching history
2014-current — Ed Larsen (11-21)
2011-2013 — David Hastings (7-13)
2007-2010 — Derrick Peyton (3-36)
2002-2006 — Joe Hays (22-30)
1998-2001 — Steve Clements (33-13)
1995-1997 — Chad Wilson (23-9)
1989-1994 — Jeff Kilts (27-30)
1975-1988 — Lou Andrus (57-78)
1971-1974 — Lloyd Jacobsen (12-24)
1967-1970 — unknown (18-19)
1960-1966 — Jim Crittenden (42-21-1)
1956-1959 — unknown (14-15-3)
1955 — Joe Crammer (2-5-1)
1951-1954 — unknown (14-15-3)
1944-1950 — Dean Prior (25-26)
1929-1943 — unknown (36-54-9)
1928 — Ross Nielson (2-4)
1925-1927 — unknown (3-11)
1921 — Wallace West (0-2)
1919 — unknown (1-4)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2016 — Carson Terrell, TE
2016 — Will Overstreet, CB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.