HIGHLAND — They gather early in the morning to lift weights. They gather in the late afternoon to run sprints. They gather to watch film, learn plays, share ideas, talk trash and just navigate life.

And as the days grow shorter, and the air will soon begin to get cooler, high school football players everywhere are energized by the endless opportunities of fall.

To kick off the 2010 season, the Deseret News will feature a video countdown of the top 20 prep football teams. The rankings were determined by preseason polls, and the project offers fans a unique glimpse of the top teams.

Today's featured team is No. 6 Lone Peak.

Tony McGeary sees the parallels between life and the football field every day. The Lone Peak head coach hopes the grit, courage and commitment needed to succeed on the gridiron will carry over into their daily lives once they graduate.

"There is just so much in the game that can be applied to life," the No. 6-ranked Knights' coach said. "I hope it helps them develop some of those qualities."

Kyle Hannemann, a senior cornerback and wide receiver, said being a Knight football player means living up to high expectations.

"You have to put all of yourself into it," he said.

Keyan Norman, a senior guard and defensive tackle, loves all aspects of the game but prefers his offensive assignments.

"Offensive line, you don't get the glory," he said. "You're trying to protect someone."

The players said their coach's concern for them shows on and off the field.

"He's a really nice guy," said Tanner Larsen, a linebacker and offensive lineman. "He always asks us how we're doing."

Adds Hannemann, "And he really likes to barbeque."

McGeary said what he asks of his players is pretty simple.

"At the end of the day, it's that we gave 100 percent," he said of what brings him satisfaction.

Wins and losses will be the way outsiders measure the Knights' success, but for McGeary, they will have to judge themselves for a true assessment. "If you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and know you've done the best you can, that's all we can ask," the Knights' coach said.

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com