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High school football: Skyline Eagles 2018 preview

Note: Skyline finished with a 6-4 overall record in 2017 and was third in Region 6 with a 3-2 record. It lost to Skyridge 55-0 in the 5A first round.

Skyline 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

EAST MILLCREEK — The Skyline Eagles suffered a soul-shaking 55-0 loss to Skyridge in the first round of the 2017 5A playoffs. The goal for the upcoming season? Make it through to the second round.

Wide receiver Hayden Hansen and offensive/defensive lineman Jacob Walker could help the Eagles reach their goal despite the Eagles losing several graduating seniors. As two of the team's five returning starters, Hansen and Walker will use their veteran status to step up as leaders this season.

"We had one of the best receivers in the state last year with Taylor Larsen and with Taylor graduating, now what Taylor got will fall onto Hayden," said head coach Zac Erekson.

Larsen committed to play at Utah State in the fall and was voted by Deseret News as the 5A Most Unheralded Player of the Year, so Hansen has big shoes to fill.

The team's starting quarterback, Chris Dudley, will have to transition to starting QB after starting at free safety (2.8 tackles per game) last season. However, his athleticism should make the transition easier.

Senior Cameron Sueoka will be the Eagles' starting linebacker in his second year ever playing football. Sueoka recorded 14 total tackles during his junior season and will lead the linebacker corps this season.

"He's a kid that we're constantly working with because he has all the physical abilities were just working on the refining qualities that he needs as a linebacker," said defensive coordinator Mike Carlson.

Although Sueoka and Walker will be leading on defense, Carlson is still tentative about which newcomers will be playing where. He said many young players need to gain confidence and become comfortable playing in pads to make the jump from JV to varsity. Who will fill in the at the other defensive positions remains a mystery until the end of the summer.

Skyline Eagles at a glance

Coach: Zac Erekson is entering his third season as head coach at Skyline, where he's put together a 10-10 record in the first two years. He's a graduate of Springville High School.

Skyline Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Zac Erekson

2017 offensive production: 33.8 ppg (7th in 5A)

  • 3 returning starters
  • Spread offense

Key offensive returning startersHayden Hansen (WR)

Hansen had a monster of a season in 2017 at wide receiver, logging 33 receptions, 556 yards and three touchdowns. He will be a key player in getting Skyline on the board this year going into his senior season.

Chris Dudley (QB): Dudley started at safety last year, but will be making the switch to the team's starting quarterback position for his senior season.

Returning offensive starters

  • Hayden Hansen (WR)
  • Chris Dudley (QB)
  • Jacob Walker (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Coach Erekson comments on the returning offensive leadership:

“Probably the biggest leader is Jacob Walker. He’s a two-year returning starter. He started games for us as a true freshman so he’s been huge and will be huge especially because he knows what everyone is supposed to do... Chris, while he has never started at quarterback because he started at safety for us last year, knows what it's like to play on a Friday night. But it’ll be a learning curve for him a little bit so he's got big shoes to fill... Between those two, our offense will be in good hands."

Coach Erekson comments on Hayden Hansen:

“Hayden is one of our few returning starters on offense as far as stats — he’s everything we have coming back. He had 500 yards receiving and six to seven touchdowns last year... Hayden’s fast — he's the fastest guy on our team... So we're gonna expect him to get past defenders and take the top off for us. His experience is going to be huge... I would expect his number to skyrocket this year from what they were last year."

Coach Erekson comments on Chris Dudley's switch from starting safety to starting quarterback:

“He was our backup quarterback last year. We always knew he would be our quarterback, but he was such a good athlete we had to get him on the field last year. We weren't just going to keep him on the sideline. So he fit at safety and now he'll be over there taking snaps instead of running things on the defense."

Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:

The Eagles must take care of the ball to avoid turnovers, according to Erekson. Due to the lack of returning starters, the team is not as deep as last year, making it crucial to keep plays simple and easy to execute.

Skyline Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Mike Carlson

2017 defensive production: 32.2 (19th in 5A)

  • 3 returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Key defensive returning starters

  • Cameron Sueoka (LB): Sueoka will be a defensive leader this year as a senior with a sparse group of returners. He logged four solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles for 14 total tackles in the 2017 season.

Returning defensive starters

Defensive newcomers to watch

N/A

Coach Carlson comments on the returning defensive leadership:

“We have Jacob Walker, who is one of our defensive lineman and captains, he’s back and he’s been a great player for us...He’s a great leader out there and he’s a guy that knows every position up front what to do so when those guys get confused they just turn to him and he knows so its awesome to have him out there."

Coach Carlson comments on Cameron Sueoka:

“He’s doing awesome. He’s a kid that came to us last year who was super raw when it comes to football. He hadn’t played much before but picked it up quickly he’s a super smart kid."

Coach Carlson comments on the team's goal for the season:

“Playoffs has always been a goal. It’s been four years since we made it out of the first round so we'd like to make it out of the first round."

Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:

The biggest key to defensive success is stopping the run, according to Carlson. The team must be solid up front and only allow the other team's offense to score a limited amount of points.

Coaches preseason Region 6 straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News Region 6 prediction: Fourth

Key Region Game: vs. Brighton, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. (Week 5)

Bottom line: With a lack of offensive and defensive returners on the squad, Skyline will have to find new leadership to have a successful season. Due to a brutal loss to Skyridge in the first round of the 5A playoffs last year, the team must regain confidence to make it through to the second round of the playoffs.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Granger, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 25 — SKY VIEW, IDAHO, 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — WESTLAKE, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — BRIGHTON, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — HIGHLAND, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — MURRAY, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at West, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — at Olympus, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 — LEHI, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts for Skyline

All-time record: 447-191-1 (56 years)

Region championships: 21 (1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 co, 1972, 1976, 1978 co, 1979, 1987 co, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 co, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2012-co)

Playoff appearances: 46

Current playoff appearance streak: 4 (2014-2017)

All-time playoff record: 88-32

State championships: 14 (1967, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005)

State championship record: 14-6

Most played rivalry: 52 meetings with Olympus dating back to 1962. Skyline leads 28-23-1.

Felt’s Factoids: Skyline holds several playoff records, including most championship game victories (14), most consecutive championships (five), most consecutive playoff wins and most total playoff wins (88). ... The Eagles have never lost a home playoff game (38-0). ... Skyline holds the record for consecutive winning seasons with 23 from 1989 to 2011. ... Skyline also holds the record for most consecutive scoring games (262) from 1986-2007.

.....

Last 5

  • 2017 — 6-4 (3-2 in Region 6 - 5A First round)
  • 2016 — 4-6 (2-3 in Region 6 - 4A First round)
  • 2015 — 5-7 (1-4 in Region 6 - 4A First round)
  • 2014 — 7-5 (4-2 in Region 7 - 4A Quarterfinals)
  • 2013 — 4-6 (2-4 in Region 7 - Missed playoffs)

Skyline coaching history

  • 2016-current — Zac Erekson (10-10)
  • 2014-2015 — Justin Thompson (12-12)
  • 2012-2013 — Steve Marlowe (9-11)
  • 1986-2011 — Roger DuPaix (246-74)
  • 1982-1985 — Ray Groth (17-23)
  • 1980-1981 — Gil Cordova (7-13)
  • 1968-1979 — Ken Schmidt (108-26)
  • 1964-1967 — H.G. Linford (31-10)
  • 1962-1963 — Wayne Startin (7-12)

Deseret News Mr. Football recipients

  • 2000 — Steve Tate, QB
  • 1999 — Bo Nagahi, DB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2017 — Taylor Larsen, WR
  • 2012 — Garrett England, Specialist
  • 2011 — Zach Russon, OL,
  • 2010 — Nick Johnson OL
  • 2008 — Tenny Palepoi, DL

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