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High school football: North Sevier Wolves 2018 preview

Note: North Sevier finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2017 and was tied for third in 2A South with a 2-3 record. It lost to Delta 54-33 in the 2A quarterfinals.

North Sevier 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

SALINA — There’s a buzz that hasn’t been around the North Sevier football program in a long time. Following the Wolves’ first winning season since 2008 — the last time North Sevier won a football state championship — head coach Devin Lindley feels the excitement around the program.

“It was a really good season. We went 6-5, we took third in the 2A South and we haven’t had that season at North Sevier since 2008, so it’s been nine, 10 seasons since we’ve had a winning record. We lost six or seven seniors, but really three of them contributed, so we have just about everybody back. There were some players that didn’t play last year that played in the past that are coming back, so we should have a 50-man roster. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of good buzz and there’s just a lot of excitement at North Sevier right now,” Lindley said.

The Wolves have legitimate expectations for the upcoming season, hoping to go further than their quarterfinal loss to Delta last season.

“Our goals are to compete in our region, which is a really difficult region, but we feel like we’re in a position where we can compete for the region championship and I think these guys are geared towards getting to the semifinals and the state championship, so we’re talking more about those kind of things than we ever have, but we just have a lot of expectations and those are the goals that they set down for me and our coaching staff, and we’ve agreed with those guys, so those are the expectations we have, is to compete in our region and win a region championship and play for a state championship game,” Lindley said.

Leading the team will be a lot of senior leadership.

“We’ve had a lot of good leadership, some guys had to step up into some roles that maybe they didn’t have before and it’s been really helpful for us. The leadership has been lights out, I’ve been really proud of our guys who have taken the leadership roles they did, they’ve got a lot of experience. We were really young a year ago, we’re going to be pretty senior-heavy this year, with 14 seniors, so, like I’ve said, they have a lot of expectation, which is really good," Lindley said.

North Sevier Wolves at a glance

Coach: Devin Lindley enters his third year at the helm of North Sevier. He holds a 7-14 record.

North Sevier Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Devin Lindley

2017 offensive production: 27.5 ppg (5th in 2A)

  • 10 returning starters
  • Spread offense

Key offensive returning starters

  • Taylor Crane (QB): Crane threw for 1,550 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season.
  • Kody Christensen (WR): Christensen had four touchdowns and 366 yards in 2017.

Returning offensive starters

Offensive newcomers to watch

Lindley’s comments on the Taylor Crane:

“I’m expecting him to have another great year. He came in as a sophomore and really did a lot of good things for us. He’s one of the most improved, which is a good sign. He’s put a lot of time and effort into his quarterback play in the offseason, and it’s paid off. He was just voted as a team captain this week, so things are looking really good for him. He’s deserved it, and I think you’re going to see a better version of him this year.”

Lindley’s comments on Gabe Wilcox:

“He’s been very productive with our run game, he’s contributed a lot. He started off really well last year, against Gunnison, he had a big game against those guys, and then he got plagued a little bit with injury, came back a few weeks later with Grand and then was able to do some good things. He seems like he’s ready to have a nice year and to put a lot of yards on the ground. We’re excited for him, he’s focused, he’s ready to go and he’ll be exciting, that’s for sure.”

Lindley’s comments on wide receivers:

“I feel really good about them. As I mentioned, two guys from a couple years ago that played with us, they didn’t play for us last year, they were able to come back with us and come back on our team and that’s been really good. Not only do we return receivers, but we’ve got four or five more receivers to back them up, have a little bit more depth, and they’re pretty good as well. There’s going to be some guys that maybe no one really knows about, but will help our team out and it’ll make it difficult for other teams to defend. We’re excited for Kody Christensen, a great receiver for us. He was second-team all-state, maybe honorable mention, but he did a great job. Burke Mickelsen is bigger and taller and he’s ready to go. Fernando Elmer helped us out a lot last year, we’re moving him around, so that will be a lot of fun, we’re looking forward towards Landan Gale, he’ll be a sophomore, to step up into a bigger role at the wide receiver spot, so a lot of fun, there’s a lot of players on our team and just got a lot of excitement going on.”

Keys for Offensive Success in 2018: Taylor Crane is back for another season as the leader of the Wolves’ offense. With a lot of returning receiving targets, the North Sevier offense should be in store for a productive year.

North Sevier Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Wyatt Mason

2017 defensive production: 27.4 ppg (8th in 2A)

  • 9 returning starters
  • 4-3 defense

Key defensive returning starters

  • Tanner Sorenson (LB): Sorenson led North Sevier in tackles last season, with 74 tackles and a sack.
  • Tate Johnson (LB): Johnson was North Sevier’s second-leading tackler, with 64 tackles and a sack.

Returning defensive starters

  • Tate Johnson (LB)
  • Tanner Sorenson (LB)
  • Burke Mickelsen (LB)
  • Gabe Wilcox (DE)
  • Dayton Reed (DT)
  • Riley Ogden (DB)
  • Fernando Elmer (DB)
  • Duncan Averett (DE)
  • Brayden Nelson (DT)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Lindley’s comments on linebackers:

“Tanner Sorenson and Tate Johnson are both seniors, they were also voted captains, then you’ve got Burke Mickelsen, the other linebacker. Really good linebacker core a year ago, one of our strengths, and they’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason, they’ve gone, not just to camps but self-improvement and all three of them are over 200 pounds, that’s important to us. They should have a really good year. They are the core to our defense, no doubt.

Lindley’s comments on the defensive line:

“I’m looking forward to some good things. We’ve got a lot of depth, we’ve got some good players coming in. I’m excited for guys like Dayton Reed, who will be a senior, and Gage Nielsen, who’s going to be a sophomore, put a lot of time in the weight room. They’re looking really good. We moved some guys around for defensive end that are going to give us some athleticism, and we’re excited for those guys. We’ll keep guys like Duncan Averett at defensive end, but they’re going to be much-improved from a year ago.”

Lindley’s comments on Tanner Sorenson:

“He’s bigger and stronger and I think he’s a little faster, too. He’s probably 215 pounds, he’s in really good shape, whereas a year ago he was probably 190 pounds, so he’s put on 20-25 pounds. He’s worked really hard in the weight room and he’s a really good wrestler, so he’s tough, he plays on our o-line, so he’s just a great teammate. He wasn’t always thrilled about playing o-line, but last year he did it and he was phenomenal, he was really good at taking that upon him and that’s why he’s a team captain, because he’s just a really good kid to be around.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2018: The linebacker core of Tate Johnson, Tanner Sorenson and Burke Mickelsen will be key for the Wolves’ defense this season. North Sevier also returns a lot of defensive linemen. Look for those two position groups to make plays all season.

Coaches preseason 2A South straw poll: Fifth

Deseret News 2A South prediction: Sixth

Key Region Game: at Beaver, Sept. 28 (Week 7)

Bottom line: Coming off its first winning season since 2008, expectations are high at North Sevier. The Wolves will have to compete in a tough 2A South, but Lindley is confident in his team’s ability to compete in the region. Returning quarterback Taylor Crane will lead the offense with a bevy of receivers and returning offensive linemen. On defense, Tanner Sorenson and Tate Johnson will be the leaders and should be the top tacklers on the team.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — WOODS CROSS JV, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — at Gunnison, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — at Millard, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — AMERICAN LEADERSHIP, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Enterprise, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — GRAND, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — at Beaver, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at San Juan, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — SOUTH SEVIER, 7 p.m.

….

Felt’s Facts for North Sevier

All-time record: 152-338-2 (59 years)

Region championships: 2 (1977 co, 1996)

Playoff appearances: 24

Current playoff appearance streak: 3 (2015-2017)

All-time playoff record: 12-23

State championships: 1 (2008)

State championship record: 1-0

Most played rivalry: 46 meetings with Kanab dating back to 1975. Kanab leads 41-5.

Felt’s Factoid(s): North Sevier is one of just 10 schools to total at least 700 yards in a game (2000).

...

Last 5

  • 2017 — 6-5 (2-3 in 2A South – 2A Quarterfinals)
  • 2016 — 1-9 (0-5 in 2A South – 2A First round)
  • 2015 — 2-8 (0-5 in 2A South – 2A First round)
  • 2014 — 1-8 (0-6 in 2A South -- Missed playoffs)
  • 2013 — 0-9 (0-6 in 2A South -- Missed playoffs)

...

North Sevier coaching history

  • 2016-current — Devin Lindley (7-14)
  • 2013-2015 — Chuck Woodhouse (3-25)
  • 2007-2012 — Ryan Higgs (18-42)
  • 2004-2006 — Paul Torgerson (7-23)
  • 2003 — Nolan Andersen (0-10)
  • 1999-2002 — Stoney Myers (10-29)
  • 1992-98 — Craig Gladwell (26-41)
  • 1991 — David Gray (1-6)
  • 1990 — Juan Henderson (1-7)
  • 1981-89 — Glen Partridge (37-48)
  • 1978-80 — Ron Dalley (11-15)
  • 1974-77 — Glen Partridge (10-19)
  • 1971-73 — Dennis Crane (6-22)
  • 1927-34 — Parley Davis (4-18-1)
  • 1924-26 — unknown (4-9-1)
  • 1922-23 — Mr. Hansen (0-8)

.....

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

  • 2008 —Wyatt Mason, RB

Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years

  • 2017 — Brooks Mickelsen, WR
  • 2010 — Michael Hales, WR/DL
  • 2008 — Josh Bates, RB/LB
  • 2008 — Evan Pettit, OL/DL
  • 2008 — Bobby Robins, Ol/DL
  • 2008 — Riley Tidlund, TE/LB

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