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High school football: Altamont Longhorns 2018 preview

Note: Altamont finished with a 5-5 overall record in 2017 and was third in 1A North with a 1-2 record. It lost to Parowan 41-7 in the 1A quarterfinals.

Altamont 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

ALTAMONT — There’s more optimism around the Altamont Longhorns football program than there has been in quite some time.

Under first-year head coach Trint Richins, the Longhorns in 2017 reached the .500 mark for the first time since 2010, going 5-5. It was the first time the program had reached five wins since the 2012 campaign and it was as many victories as Altamont had racked up in the previous three years combined.

Sure, only two of the Longhorns’ victories came against Beehive State varsity teams (Monticello and Rich), but it had been two years since Altamont even did that.

“It was hard to get them to buy in and believe, but I think people underestimated us, and we just played really good, disciplined defense,” Richins said. “We really did, for the most part. Our kids were disciplined, and I don’t really think they had been as much in the past, so everyone knew their role. It was pretty simple. We didn’t make it too complicated. We made it simple, and they just had fun.”

Even with the relative success, Richins wants more as Altamont moves into the 2018 season.

“If you go into the season thinking that it’s a rebuilding year or you go into the season planning to hopefully win half the games, then that’s all you’re going to get at best. We’re in this to win a state championship. No mistake about it, that’s our goal. Whether that happens or not, a lot of things can happen, there’s a lot of good teams, but that’s what we’re shooting for. That’s the expectation, to be competitive and be there somewhere.”

Heading into 2018, a large majority of the primary producers from 2017 are back, and Richins is expecting that a bunch more kids will join the program

“A lot more kids want to play this year, so that’s good,” he said. “I think we’ll have over 40 kids, which, it’s been years and years and years since we’ve had over 40.”

Altamont Longhorns at a glance

Coach: Trint Richins is entering his second season at the helm of the Altamont program.

Altamont offensive snapshot

2017 offensive production: 13.3 ppg (7th in 1A)

  • I, pro formations

Key offensive returning starters

  • McKay Foy (RB): Rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2017, which included a 350-yard, three-touchdown performance against Rich.
  • Carson Sheets (WR): Was second on the team behind Foy with 303 rushing yards. He’ll likely see time at both running back and wide receiver in 2018.

Returning offensive starters

Offensive newcomers to watch

Richins’ comments on McKay Foy: “He really kind of got into a groove the last couple games (last year) as far as running the ball. He started to really see the holes. He’s going to be fun to try to stop.”

Richins’ comments on the passing game: “Our quarterback, he can throw the ball, and we’ve got kids that can catch it this year. It’s going to be fun for us. I’m excited.”

Richins’ comments on general offensive outlook: “We were boring last year. We really were. I’m not saying I want to take a bunch of chances, but we were predictable. They knew when we were going to run the ball, they knew when we were going to throw the ball because we were forced into situations like that. This year I don’t see that happening. I really feel like if we use our athletes and our physicality and just have fun, I feel like we’re going to have a good offensive year.”

Keys for success: The Longhorns will certainly have players who are capable of running the ball. Can the offensive line create holes for the running backs to be able to capitalize? Will the passing game be strong enough to keep defenses honest?

Altamont defensive snapshot

2017 defensive production: 22.4 ppg (6th in 1A)

  • 4-3, 4-4

Key defensive returning starters

  • Cooper Rust (LB): Led the Longhorns in tackles with 65 last year and was tied for third in sacks with 5.5.
  • Thomas Phillips (DL): Finished 2017 with 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Returning defensive starters

  • Makovey Jessen (S)
  • Mac Thacker (DL)
  • Kayl Kynaston (DL)
  • Tallon Kynaston (DL)
  • Preston Jessen (DL)
  • Cooper Rust (LB)
  • John Johnson (LB)
  • Tristan Farnsworth (LB)
  • Thomas Phillips (DL)
  • Kayden Sorenson (CB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

  • Heston Murdock (DL)
  • Maleke McGhee (DL)

Richins’ comments on defensive lineman Preston Jessen: He’s going to be an absolute beast...really strong, really fast.”

Richins’ comments on the offensive and defensive lines: “I see our line being really, really good this year. Both offensive and defensive lines are going to be—I wouldn’t want to have to deal with them if I was an opposing coach. They really are going to be pretty tough, and they’ve got a lot of confidence.”

Richins’ comments on the linebacker and secondary units: “Our linebacker corps and our secondary, we’ll be stronger this year than we were last year.”

Keys for success: While Altamont will bring back a good chunk of its 2017 production on defense, it has lost a couple of key graduated defensive linemen. Can players step into those roles and have success? Additionally, Richins is looking for leaders on defense. Will he be able to find players who want to take on that responsibility?

Coaches preseason 1A North straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News 1A North prediction: Fourth

Key region game: Oct. 18 at Rich

Bottom line: With some momentum from last season, things are as good at Altamont as they’ve been in a long time. Can the Longhorns capitalize on that and improve even more this season, or will 2017 prove to have been a bit of a flash in the pan? Altamont might not quite be ready to realistically contend for a region title, but if McKay Foy can have a strong senior season and if everything else around him is adequate, the Longhorns can take another step forward.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Parowan, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — LYMAN, WYO., 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — WEST WENDOVER, Nev., 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — at Kanab, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — MONTICELLO, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — MILFORD, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — LAYTON CHRISTIAN, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — at Duchesne, 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 18 — at Rich, 7 p.m.

Felts Facts for Altamont

All-time record: 156-285 (46 years)

Region championships: 1 (1978)

Playoff appearances: 31

Current playoff appearance streak: 9 (2009-2017)

All-time playoff record: 9-31

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-1

Most played rivalry: 69 meetings with Duchesne dating back to 1973. Duchesne leads 42-27.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Altamont has played 45 seasons, but has clashed with top rival Duchesne 69 times. The rivalry is the third-longest uninterrupted active series in the state.

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Last 5

  • 2017 — 5-5 (1-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
  • 2016 — 1-9 (1-3 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
  • 2015 — 4-7 (2-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
  • 2014 — 0-10 (0-3 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)
  • 2013 — 3-8 (1-2 in 1A North – 1A Quarterfinals)

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Altamont coaching history

  • 2017-current — Trint Richins (5-5)
  • 2015-2016 — Ben Felder (5-16)
  • 2013-2014 — Anthony Wilcox (3-18)
  • 2009-2012 — Mick Fieldstead (20-24)
  • 2006-2008 — Daniel Zabriskie (3-26)
  • 1998-2005 — Mark Barnum (35-44)
  • 1996-1997 — Robert Marshall (7-12)
  • 1995 — Darrin Jensen (3-8)
  • 1991-1994 — Robert Marshall (25-15)
  • 1986-1990 — Dave Peck (14-33)
  • 1982-1985 — Frank Hill (5-31)
  • 1980-1981 — Kim Petersen (1-14)
  • 1977-1979 — Jack Barton (14-13)
  • 1974-1976 — Bill Manzanares (15-12)
  • 1972-1973 — Rod Jorgensen (Unknown)
  • 1949 — Glenn Allred (0-6)

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Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2017 — Russell Mitchell, OL/DL
  • 2017 — Wyatt Jessen, OL/DL
  • 2017 — McKay Foy, RB/LB
  • 2016 — Zach Hansen, QB/LB
  • 2015 — Austin Abbott, TE/DE
  • 2015 — Dainen Parry, OL/DL
  • 2014 — Rylee Foy, QB/LB
  • 2013 — Rylee Foy, RB/LB
  • 2013 — Randy Sorensen, WR/DB
  • 2012 — Kyle Foy, RB/LB
  • 2012 — Denver Knight, OL/DL
  • 2012 — Cassidy Smith, OL/DL
  • 2011 — Kyle Foy, FB/LB
  • 2010 — Zaquri Brinkerhoff, OL/LB
  • 2010 — Dalton Smith, OL/DL
  • 2009 — Zach Hatch, RB/LB
  • 2009 — Waylon Thompson, RB/LB

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