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High school football: Cedar Redmen 2017 preview

Note: Cedar finished with a 4-6 overall record in 2016 and tied for fourth in 3AA South with a 1-4 record. Lost to Park City 28-21 in 3AA first round.

Cedar 2016 Offensive and Defensive Stats

CEDAR CITY — For Cedar High School head coach Josh Bennett and his Redmen, the goal for the 2017 season is quite simple, literally.

“This year we simplified things,” said Bennett. “We are trying to have fewer plays while at the same time having more formations. That has been our major focus in the offseason. I felt like one of the mistakes I made the past two years is that we had way too many plays. We have dropped a lot of them and just simplified things.”

The impetus for this change? Cedar’s 28-21 opening-round loss to Park City in the 2016 3AA playoffs.

“We were up 21-0 in that game,” said Bennett. “We just had some breakdowns towards the end of the game that cost us.”

Fortunately for Bennett, the kids at Cedar have bought in hook, line and sinker.

“Every year we sit down and set goals. Usually the goals range from region championship to state championship. Those are good goals. They are goals that can push you. This year, however, our seniors had a different idea,” said Bennett. “They came out and said ‘Let’s go one game at a time.’ They simplified our goals to help us get better as the season wears on. The kids have really bought into that and they have started to pick things, formations and coverages, up better.”

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Cedar returns some very talented players, most notably along the offensive and defensive lines.

“We have the best O-Line and D-Line that I have seen in the three years I have been head coach here,” said Bennett. “Not only that, but we have three strong running backs and an excellent running quarterback. We don’t have the numbers that big schools have but we have talent. The most important things is to keep kids healthy. We can compete if we can do that.”

Cedar Redmen at a glance

Coach: Josh Bennett is in his third season as head coach of the Redmen. Through his few years at Cedar, Bennett has racked up nine wins and 11 losses. Bennett is a graduate of Millard High School as well as Southern Utah University.

Cedar Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Josh Bennett

2016 offensive production: 22.5 ppg (8th in 3AA)

-- 5 returning starters

-- Multiple spread formation offense

Key offensive returning starters

-- Trent Maurer (RB)

One of the top Cedar rushers in 2016, Maurer carried the ball 88 times for 558 yards and three scores. His 6.34 yards-per-carry average was fifth best on the team.

-- Kobee Lata (OL)

Lata is just one of two returning starters on the Cedar offensive line, and as such will be expected to provide leadership in the trenches.

Returning offensive starters

Trent Maurer (RB)

Kobee Lata (OL)

Hayden Giles (OL)

Luke Maggio (WR/QB)

Markus Johnson (RB)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Mike Anker (QB)

Bryce Crowley (OL)

Nate Ellis (OL)

Ryler Allred (RB)

Bennett’s comments on Luke Maggio:

“He plays corner and slot receiver and he is also our backup quarterback. He is a kid that had an outstanding year last year. He definitely has a lot of speed which will help us a lot on offense."

Bennett’s comments on Mike Anker:

“He is going to be a junior. He has great speed. When he gets into the open field he is gone. He has outstanding speed. We are excited about him. The quarterback runs a lot in our offense."

Bennett’s comments on the offensive line:

“Our offensive line is absolutely the strength of our offense. Especially this year. I feel better about our O-Line this year than I have any other year I’ve coached here. We have three returning starters in that group, as well as a couple other guys who got good experience last year."

Keys for Offensive Success in 2017:

The Redmen make their living running the football, and heading into the 2017 campaign appear capable of doing that with ease. Cedar has a strong offensive line, the best Bennett has had at the school, with a great deal of experience. Add in three talented running backs in Trent Maurer, Markus Johnson and Ryler Allred and Cedar seems primed to have one of the better rushing attacks in Region 9.

Cedar Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Mark Esplin

2016 defensive production: 19.6 ppg (7th in 3AA)

-- 5 returning starters

-- 4-2-5/3-3-5 defense

Key defensive returning starters

-- Luke Maggio (CB)

Maggio was a stalwart in the Redmen secondary, racking up 32 tackles through nine games. Maggio recorded at least four tackles in five games, including his season-best five wrap-ups at Provo.

-- Daniel "Dan" Jordan (DL)

Jordan, one of three returning starters on the Cedar defensive line, racked up 30 tackles last season as well as two sacks. Jordan was one of just five Redmen to record a sack in 2016.

Returning defensive starters

Trent Maurer (S)

Luke Maggio (CB)

Daniel Jordan (DL)

Kobee Lata (DL)

Nate Ellis (DL)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Bryce Crowley (DL)

Markus Johnson (LB)

Hayden Giles (LB)

Drake Fakahua (LB/S)

Bennett’s comments on the defensive line:

“We have about four defensive tackles that can play. They are going to rotate a lot this year and keep each other fresh. Bryce Crowley is about 6’2”, 280 pounds, and Kobee Lata is another big kid, they both should have good years. Dan Jordan is another kid that we will rotate there, he actually wrestled for the state championship last year. We expect all of these guys to have big years."

Bennett’s comments on Markus Johnson:

“We felt like last year Markus would have started for any other team. We had two outstanding linebackers last year, one was a first team All-stater and the other was an honorable mention All-stater. We felt like Markus, who was behind them on the depth chart, probably would’ve started for any other team but was just stuck behind two excellent linebackers,” said Bennett.

Bennett’s comments on defensive formations/versatility:

“We run a 4-2 and a 3-5. It just depends on the situation in the game. We base out of a 4-2 and then we will move into a 3-5 in a passing situation. It is really a personnel thing. We don’t have huge kids here at Cedar, but we do have a lot of team speed. More in fact than I thought we would have."

Keys for Defensive Success in 2017:

The Redmen have experience and talent along the defensive line, a group that Bennett believes is the strong suit of his defense. With Markus Johnson and Hayden Giles at linebacker, the Cedar front seven is set to have an excellent season. The secondary is a question mark, with only two returning starters, Trent Maurer and Luke Maggio, but both players are among the most talented on the team. If the Cedar secondary can pull its weight, the Redmen should have a stout defense.

Coaches preseason Region 9 straw poll: Sixth

Deseret News Region 9 prediction: Fifth

Key Region Game: against Pine View, Oct. 19 (Week 10).

Bottom line: The Redmen bring back a decent amount of starters, as well as some talented and experienced players behind them. The O-line and D-line both figure to be significant strengths for Cedar, a prerequisite for a winning football team. Offensively, Cedar will rely on a strong rushing attack, and hope to get some sort of threat in the passing game. Defensively, if the secondary gave reach the same level as the front seven the Redmen have a potentially elite defense. A tough region promises difficulty, however, and it’ll take the best that Cedar has to offer to secure a playoff spot.

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 — PROVO, 7 p.m.

Aug. 25 — at Juab, 7 p.m.

Sept. 1 — at North Sanpete, 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 — at Canyon View, 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 — DESERT HILLS, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 — at Hurricane, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 — at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 — BYE

Oct. 11 — PINE VIEW, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — DIXIE, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts for Cedar High School

All-time record: 357-306-8 (70 years)

Region championships: 18 (1953, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985 co, 1987, 1994 co, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010 co)

Playoff appearances: 40

Current playoff appearance streak: 4 (2013-2016)

All-time playoff record: 29-40

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-3

Most played rivalry: 87 meetings with Dixie dating back to 1949 in the second-longest uninterrupted active rivalry in Utah. Dixie leads 54-33.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Cedar was the last school to score more than 90 points in a game when the Redmen blitzed Kanab 95-0 in 1954. … Redman Danny Lindsay is one of only two players to return a punt for 100 yards (1959). (Since 1974, kick and punt returns from the end zone haven’t been allowed.) … Cedar and Page (Arizona) battled to a 41-41 tie in 1999 — the highest tie game involving a Utah team.


Last 5

2016 — 4-6 (1-4 in 3AA South – 3A First round)

2015 — 5-6 (2-3 in 3AA South – 3AA Quarterfinals)

2014 — 5-6 (1-5 in 3AA South – 3AA Quarterfinals)

2013 — 5-7 (2-4 in 3AA South – 3AA Quarterfinals)

2012 — 1-8 (1-5 in Region 9 – Missed playoffs)


Cedar coaching history

2015-current — Josh Bennett (9-12)

1991-2014 — Todd Peacock (149-116)

1986-1990 — Kit Janes (19-31)

1980-1985 — Dave Jensen (43-18)

1977-1979 — Jim Dalton (10-18)

1974-1976 — Jack Bishop (12-14)

1971-1973 — John Pensis (14-21)

1970 — Jim Marshall (2-6)

1967-1969 — Unknown

1966 — Jack Sawyers (4-3)

1956-1965 — Harold Norton (49-30)

1952-1955 — Glen Jackson (26-6)

1937-1950 — Unknown


Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2016 — Jade Bulloch, MLB

2016 — Quaid Murray, C

2015 — Koalman Kimber, OL

2015 — Jade Bulloch, LB

2014 — Koalman Kimber, OL

2013 — Kole Dotson, OL

2011 — John Ursua, QB

2011 — Kahi Eldredge, OL

2010 — Matt Grover, RB

2010 — Connor Ottenbacher, OL

2009 — Jackson Carter, DB/QB

2009 — Jesse Woods, DL

2008 — Ryan Decker, DL

2008 — Trent Grover, LB

2007 — Dylan Fox, LB

2007 — Spencer Montgomery, OL

2007 — Logan Obering, DB

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