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High school football: Green Canyon Wolves 2018 preview

Note: Green Canyon finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2017 and was fifth in Region 12 with a 1-4 record. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.

Green Canyon's 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

NORTH LOGAN — Green Canyon suffered through what most first-year schools deal with last season, a basic lack of size and maturity.

While its Region 12 counterparts were starting juniors and seniors most Friday nights, Green Canyon’s varsity squad consisted primarily of sophomores and juniors.

It made competing extremely difficult, especially defensively as the Wolves ranked 22nd out of 25 teams in 4A in scoring defense allowing 34.8 ppg.

The growing pains the school endured could pay dividends this season.

“It was fun to start a new program but I’m sure glad we’re in year No. 2,” said Green Canyon coach Craig Anhder, who previously coached at Sky View for 12 seasons.

With just four seniors on the team last season, Anhder returns virtually the same team this season as he coached a year ago.

That includes last year’s entire offensive line, its starting quarterback and running back and then most of the defensive starters as well. Many of those same players will still be underclassmen in 2018.

“We still have a lot of guys that are going to be juniors and so we’ve really got to work on the strength of those guys so they can play at a varsity level,” said Anhder.

The biggest improvement should come on the defensive side of the ball, where Anhder expects to field a much quicker and tougher squad. That quickness was there last year, but physically they just got pushed around.

He describes this year’s defense as fast and tough, which should help the Wolves be more competitive in the always-difficult Northern Utah league.

“I just love our region. Kids are tough, they’re not the biggest, they’re not the strongest, they may not get all the Division I offers, but our region year in and year out — it doesn’t matter the level —there are teams from our region that make it very far in state. I would anticipate the same,” said Anhder.

Green Canyon Wolves at a glance

Coach: Craig Anhder is entering his second year as Green Canyon’s head coach after leading the program to a 3-7 record during its inaugural season. Prior to that Anhder coached 12 seasons at Sky View. His overall head coaching record is 93-53. He’s a graduate of Mountain Crest.

Green Canyon Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Joaby Parker

2017 offensive production: 23.1 ppg (13th in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters
  • Spread/multiple offenses

Key offensive returning starters

  • Joe Dygert (QB): Completed 98 of 197 passes for 1,596 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.
  • Brett Gasaway (RB): Led Green Canyon in rushing with 108 carries for 693 yards and five touchdowns.

Returning offensive starters

Offensive newcomers to watch

Coach Anhder comments on returning starting QB Joe Dygert:

“He stepped in and did a great job as a sophomore, and already in some of our 7 on 7s and some of our spring practice he brings a different level of maturity, he knows the offense. Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty, the details of the offense. We’ll have four really good receivers for him to throw to. I see him having a lot of success at the quarterback spot.”

Coach Anhder comments on experienced offensive line:

“Last year these guys were working so hard to try and learn it. And even with all these guys returning, only two of them are seniors, the rest will be juniors. They’ve worked really hard. We’re bigger, we’re a lot stronger, a lot faster at the O-line spot than we were last year. At some of our camps, you could really see the difference. Our pass protection was better, our run game was better because of how they’ve developed over the year.”

Coach Anhder comments on running back Brett Gasaway:

“He’s gotten stronger in the weight room. He’s just a tough kid. One of the things we’ve really worked on is he loved just to hit somebody, and sometimes it looked like he was looking to hit somebody instead of making somebody miss. Through some creative drills and some great coaches coaching him, I think he’s going to be able to make guys miss more and that should help him with some more yardage as well.”

Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:

To make strides in its second year, Green Canyon must become a better running team. Last season the offense rushed for a total of 1,309 yards, with 600 of those yards coming in the three wins over Shelley, Idaho, Logan and Ben Lomond. In the seven losses the team only rushed for a total of 709 yards. All five offensive line starters from last season are back, as it starting running back Brett Gasaway. The combination of that experience should lead to a more productive ground game.

Green Canyon Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Cam Johnson

2017 defensive production: 34.8 ppg (22nd in 4A)

  • 8 returning starters
  • 4-3 defense

Key defensive returning starters

  • Nate Corry (S): At linebacker last season he led Green Canyon defensively with 77 tackles.
  • Caden Peterson (LB): Was fourth on the team a year ago with 61 tackles to go along with his three sacks.

Returning defensive starters

Defensive newcomers to watch

Coach Anhder comments on the need for improved toughness defensively:

“Be more physical and be more confident, and I’ve already seen that happening. Our guys last year I don’t think they were super confident in what we were doing and what they could do. And defense if your caught leaning the wrong way it can be a big play for the other team, and I think that’s what I’ve seen a big change in the kids, they’re playing confident and physical.”

Coach Anhder comments on safety Nate Corry:

“He played linebacker for us last year. We had a lot more linebacker-type kids than safety kids so we moved Nate to safety this year and he’s caught on really well. I think it’s a more natural position for him, but sometimes it’s finding the right puzzle to fit in the right spot.”

Coach Anhder comments on linebacker Caden Peterson:

“He started last year as a sophomore, and he’s just gotten stronger. He’s what every coach wants for their Mike linebacker. He’s the first guy to the weight room, he works hard, he never complains, he understands the system. He’s going to be the quarterback for the defense so to speak and he’s worked hard to put himself in that position to be able to do it.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:

With a varsity squad loaded with more juniors than seniors, Green Canyon will still be one of the more undersized teams in Region 12 this season. The defense, however, features a lot of speed and athleticism and game planning to take advantage of that quickness will be key.

Coaches preseason Region 12 straw poll: Fifth

Deseret News Region 12 prediction: Fifth

Key Region Game: at Bear River, Sept. 21 (Week 6)

Bottom line: With eight returning starters back on both sides of the ball, experience alone should help Green Canyon be more competitive better than a year ago. Will that be enough to crack the top four in Region 12 to qualify for the playoffs? Green Canyon finished fifth last season in region play, with its lone win coming against Logan. In its other four region losses, it lost by three or four touchdowns each time. Only time will tell if the program has closed the gap enough this summer to flip some of those losses.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Pine View, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — BOX ELDER7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Logan, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — at Bear River, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — RIDGELINE, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — SKY VIEW, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 — BEN LOMOND, 7 p.m.

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Felts Facts for Green Canyon High School

All-time record: 3-7 (1 year)

Region championships: 0

Playoff appearances: 0

Current playoff appearance streak: 0

All-time playoff record: 0-0

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-0

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Last 5

  • 2017 — 3-7 (1-4 in Region 12 - Missed playoffs)

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Green Canyon coaching history

  • 2017 - current — Craig Anhder (3-7)

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Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • (None)

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