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High School football: American Leadership Eagles 2018 Preview

Note: American Leadership finished with a 4-7 overall record in 2017 and was fourth in 2A North with a 2-3 record. It lost to Beaver 56-3 in 2A quarterfinals.

ALA 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

SPANISH FORK — Things are improving at American Leadership Academy and football coach Nate Porter hopes to keep the momentum.

The Eagles underwent some changes during last season, yet made it through to the playoffs, and won a game before being bounced from competition by Beaver in the quarterfinals.

"That loss was tough, but we're real proud of the progress we made last season," Porter said. "We changed our offense and it really paid off, even though we lost our starting quarterback right after the change."

The change involved gravitating toward a new spread offense that put up a lot of points on the board, while making ALA competitive with teams within the 2A North Region.

This year the Eagles are stacked with returning starters and feel they can work to improve and advance past the quarterfinal round.

"That's the plan, but we have to get there first, and that's the focus," Porter said. "But we're confident with the players we have coming back and feel we can have a nice year."

One advance made is the mentality within his team, according to Porter.

"I think we got a sense of what real playoff football is like, getting smacked by Beaver in the quarterfinals," Porter said. "I think kids were riding high after our first win, and we got it handed to us. But I think it's going to work for our benefit this year, having had that experience of what real playoff football is like."

American Leadership Academy Eagles at a glance

Coach: Nate Porter is in his second year after leading ALA to a 4-7 record last season.

American Leadership Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Kyle Purvis

2017 offensive production: 18.4 ppg (7th in 2A)

  • 7 returning starters
  • Spread

Key offensive returning starters

  • Jacob Negus (QB): Negus threw for 1,523 yards and 20 touchdowns against 16 interceptions last season as a sophomore. "He can throw it about 50 or 60 yards in the air and he's really accurate with both his short and long passes, and he doesn't shy away from contact. He'll stand in the pocket and take it to deliver passes."
  • Fielding Morley (WR): Morley led the team in receiving yards last season with 426 and was the team leader in touchdowns scored with seven. "Fielding was another standout sophomore last year and we think he's going to have a real big year. He's our main target and we'll rely a lot on him."

Returning offensive starters

Porter on his running backs:

"It's definitely going to be running back-by-committee to start things out. We don't have a lot of experience there, but there's some guys we feel can step up as sophomores. We'll see how it goes. It's one of our biggest holes to fill."

Porter on his offensive line:

"I lost just one starter off last year's squad, so I think the offensive line is going to be big for us. We have both are starting tackles back, which is something nice to have as a foundation."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=vnSuBPlcSHcAmerican Leadership Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Doug Vincent

2017 defensive production: 27.9 ppg (9th in 2A)

  • 6 returning starters
  • 4-2-5

Key defensive returning starter

  • Jarius Searle (DL): "He's fast, strong and he's going to be big for us playing at defensive tackle. Kids are going to have a tough time dealing with him and keeping him contained."

Returning defensive starters

  • Jarius Searle (DL)
  • Austin Nelson (DL)
  • Luis Canizales (DL)
  • Hayden Shockley (LB)
  • Chandler Hone (DB)
  • Fielding Morley (DB)

Porter on his defensive backs:

"We have a lot of guys and a lot of experience at defensive back, so we'll rely on them a lot and feel they'll be a real good group for us."

Coaches preseason 2A North straw poll: Fifth

Deseret News 2A North prediction: Sixth

Key Region Game: vs. North Summit (Oct. 5)

Bottom Line: ALA should prove improved from last season and could very well make the playoffs and advance past the quarterfinal round. A new offensive system and a new attitude will provide dividends, but as always with a relatively small school, it will come down to how healthy the Eagles prove to be throughout the season.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Duchesne, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — at Layton Christian, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — GRAND, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — at North Sevier, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at South Summit, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — MILLARD, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — GUNNISON, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 —NORTH SUMMIT, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — at Delta, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts

All-time record: 26-93 (12 years)

Region championships: 0

Playoff appearances: 8

Current playoff appearance streak: 3

All-time playoff record: (1-8)

State championships: 0

State championship record: (0-0)

Most played rivalry: Seven meetings with Manti dating back to 2006. Manti leads 7-0. Last met in 2012.

Felt’s Factoid(s): ALA is one of six private schools that compete in football. ... Eagle Jordan Lamb is one of just 16 prep gridders in Utah to return an interception 100 yards (2011).

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Last 5

  • 2017 — 4-7 (2-3 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)
  • 2016 — 4-6 (1-4 in 2A North – 2A First round)
  • 2015 — 4-6 (1-4 in 2A North – 2A First round)
  • 2014 — 1-8 (0-6 in 2A North – Missed playoffs)
  • 2013 — 3-7 (1-5 in 2A North – Missed playoffs)

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American Leadership coaching history

  • 2017-current — Nate Porter (4-7)
  • 2014-2016 — Billy Nixon (9-20)
  • 2013 – Chase Ryan (3-7)
  • 2012 — Bobby Kauo (2-7)
  • 2009-2011 — David Lewis (6-25)
  • 2007-2008 — Tom Fell (1-19)
  • 2006 — Ron Olsen (1-8)

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Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

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