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Top 20 football video countdown: No. 5 Mountain Crest

Mustangs head coach Mark Wootton was too small to play much on his high school football team. But thanks to his father's encouragement, he didn't give up.

"He always encouraged me," said Wootton. "I didn't develop until later. I played in college, even though I didn't play in high school. He helped me believe in myself, and that allowed me to go on."

Wootton believes the intensity of football creates an environment that really bonds players.

"The kids really grow together," he said, "because they have to come together."

He hopes they savor the experience, because it lasts such a short time.

Joey Jenkins, senior offensive tackle and defensive lineman, said Wootton is a lighthearted coach who knows the game.

"He's a lot of fun," he said. "But he can get after you when you need it."

Both coach and players see each season as an opportunity to extend the tradition of success at Mountain Crest.

"We have a tradition here, and we defend it," said Alex Kuresa, senior quarterback.

The community is steadfast in its support of the program, but Wootton said players are expected to earn the respect that goes with that.

"If you come here, you'd better be ready to play and go to work," he said.

Friday night in Hyrum is "kind of like a circus," he said. The stands are always packed with people of all ages, and they love to dress up in orange and blue.

"The community loves Mountain Crest football, and it's an honor for the kids to play here," said Wootton.

But ultimately, he hopes the players gain more than gridiron glory.

"I hope they'll grow a lot," Wootton said. "I hope it helps them become great young men. I hope they become good husbands, good fathers."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com