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High school football: Altamont Longhorns 2017 preview

Note: Altamont finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2016 and was fourth in 1A North region with a 1-3 record. It lost to Kanab 47-0 in the 1A quarterfinals.

Altamont 2016 Offensive and Defensive Statistics

ALTAMONT — The Altamont Longhorns haven’t had a winning season since 2010 and came out victorious in just one contest in 2016. As such, new head coach Trint Richins acknowledges his team isn’t expected to do much this season.

Whether it be in spite or because of those expectations from the outside, Richins feels as though his squad will be able to surprise some people in 2017.

“There’s eight teams in 1A, and we’re ranked eighth, so there’s nowhere to go but up,” Richins said. “I just don’t think it’s expected, and I feel like this is the group that’s going to turn that around. I tell them every day that I expect them to compete this year. This isn’t a building year. It’s time to go, and they’re going to be ready. There’s some good teams there for sure, but we have some really, really good kids and a good group of seniors that want to compete.”

While Richins feels he’s got a good core of players, he also pointed to the fact that he’s got more kids participating overall this year, and he said the community at large has been more supportive than in the past.

“Kids seem to be excited,” he said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction. I’m excited to build a program, me and the community. The community is 100 percent behind it. Everybody’s been absolutely fantastic to me. People are willing to help, people are just stepping forward, putting the time in.”

Altamont Longhorns at a glance

Coach: Trint Richins is entering his first season as head coach.

Altamont Offensive Snapshot

2016 offensive production: 5.2 ppg (10th in 1A)

-- 8 returning starters

-- Pro, I-formation

Returning offensive starters

Parker Rust (QB/WR)

Zach Hansen (QB/WR)

McKay Foy (FB/RB)

Lane Benson (WR/RB)

Russell Mitchell (OL)

Cody Miles (OL)

Wyatt Jessen (OL)

Cooper Rust (TE)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Carson Sheets (RB)

Kayl Kynaston (OL)

Mac Thacker (OL)

Richins comments on his offense:

“They’re learning a whole new system. I don’t run anything like what they’ve run in the past. They’re doing really good. I’m really, really excited about where we are so far. Their attitude seems really good, they want to compete and they’re working hard. That’s all you can ask. It’s been good.”

Keys for offensive success in 2017:

The Longhorns will likely be quite run-heavy in 2017, and they should have both the numbers and the talent to do that effectively. Although it’s a new offensive system, there are both experienced skill players and linemen who should key the attack. Can the Longhorns find enough balance besides just running the ball, and can they manage to score enough to keep games interesting?

Altamont Defensive Snapshot

2016 defensive production: 35.2 ppg (9th in 1A)

-- 8 returning starters

-- Multiple defensive formations

Returning defensive starters

Parker Rust (DB)

Zach Hansen (LB)

Lane Benson (LB)

Russell Mitchell (DL)

Cody Miles (DL)

Wyatt Jessen (DL)

Cooper Rust (LB)

Kason Abbott (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Tristan Farnsworth (DB)

Tallon Kynaston (DL/LB)

McCovey Jessen (DB)

Preston Jessen (DL)

Richins’ comments on his defense:

“I expect our defense to be extremely solid. They’re excited for it. I expect them to be extremely competitive on defense this year.”

Keys for defensive success in 2017:

Richins is a defense-first coach who is investing a great deal of time on that side of the ball. Like with the offense, there are enough players on defense with experience who should improve based on growth alone, even with changes that will come about with a new coaching staff. Richins hopes to have the group more fundamentally sound and competitive. Can they close the gap on last year’s performance?

Coaches preseason 1A North straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News 1A North prediction: Fourth

Key region game: at Layton Christian Oct. 6 (Week 8)

Bottom line: The Longhorns have a long way to dig out of the 1A cellar, especially in a North division that should have three other very good teams. Richins isn’t calling 2017 a building year, but it’ll be important nonetheless for him to start to establish a winning mindset this season if he wants to see steady improvement in the program. A couple of victories would probably be considered a successful year for Altamont.

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 — PAROWAN, 7 p.m.

Aug. 25 — at Lyman, Wyo., 4 p.m.

Sept. 1 — at West Wendover, Nev., 4 p.m.

Sept. 8 — WAYNE, 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 — at Monticello, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 — BYE

Sept. 29 — at Milford, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 — at Layton Christian, 4 p.m.

Oct. 13 — DUCHESNE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 — at Rich, 4 p.m.

Felts Facts for Altamont High School

All-time record: 151-280 (45 years)

Region championships: 1 (1978)

Playoff appearances: 30

Current playoff appearance streak: 8 (2009-2016)

All-time playoff record: 9-30

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-1

Most played rivalry: 68 meetings with Duchesne dating back to 1973. Duchesne leads 41-27.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Altamont has played 44 seasons, but has clashed with top rival Duchesne 67 times. The rivalry is the third-longest uninterrupted active series in the state.

Last 5

2016 — 1-9 (1-3 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)

2015 — 4-7 (2-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)

2014 — 0-10 (0-3 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)

2013 — 3-8 (1-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)

2012 — 5-7 (1-3 in 1A North – 1A Semifinals)

Altamont coaching history

2017-current — Trint Richins (0-0)

2015-2016 — Ben Felder (5-16)

2013-2014 — Anthony Wilcox (3-18)

2009-2012 — Mick Fieldstead (20-24)

2006-2008 — Daniel Zabriskie (3-26)

1998-2005 — Mark Barnum (35-44)

1996-1997 — Robert Marshall (7-12)

1995 — Darrin Jensen (3-8)

1991-1994 — Robert Marshall (25-15)

1986-1990 — Dave Peck (14-33)

1982-1985 — Frank Hill (5-31)

1980-1981 — Kim Petersen (1-14)

1977-1979 — Jack Barton (14-13)

1974-1976 — Bill Manzanares (15-12)

1972-1973 — Rod Jorgensen (Unknown)

1949 — Glenn Allred (0-6)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2016 — Zach Hansen, QB/LB

2015 — Austin Abbott, TE/DE

2015 — Dainen Parry, OL/DL

2014 — Rylee Foy, QB/LB

2013 — Rylee Foy, RB/LB

2013 — Randy Sorensen, WR/DB

2012 — Kyle Foy, RB/LB

2012 — Denver Knight, OL/DL

2012 — Cassidy Smith, OL/DL

2011 — Kyle Foy, FB/LB

2010 — Zaquri Brinkerhoff, OL/LB

2010 — Dalton Smith, OL/DL

2009 — Zach Hatch, RB/LB

2009 — Waylon Thompson, RB/LB

2007 — Kyle Pugh, OL/DL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.