Summit Academy coach Ryan Miller didn’t shy away from talking about expectations for his football team this season.

“Overall for us our expectation is to win state, that’s what we’re going into the season as,” said Miller, who’s entering his second year as head coach.

The Bears were a semifinalist a year ago, and outside of two lopsided losses to eventual state champ San Juan were competitive with every other 2A team.

With more starters returning than any of the other 2A semifinalists, Summit Academy’s championship-mentality is very achievable.

“Our expectation is to be successful, but it comes back to us. We felt a lot of times where we fell short was not necessarily things that other teams were doing to us but us making mistakes ourselves — at least with the exception of San Juan,” said Miller.

While Beaver and San Juan in the 2A South region both figure to reload and be in the title hunt again, in the 2A North region Summit Academy is the clear favorite based on experience and continuity.

Last year’s northern champ, South Summit, has a new coach with Michael Ruf taking over the program, and with any new coach there’s invariably a bit of an unknown. He’s inheriting a team with a decent amount of experience, but there’s a huge void to fill with the graduation of dual-threat quarterback Kyler Sudweeks.

South Summit’s spread offense has been among the best in the state recently, but it’s always predicated on great QB play and only time will tell if Ruf had that type of player waiting in the wings.

For Summit Academy, it absolutely has that type of player with the return of senior QB Devin Watson. He’s coming off a season in which he passed for over 4,300 yards and 42 touchdowns.

The bigger issue a year ago was Summit Academy’s defense — something that still needs to be addressed — but with Watson slinging it around the Bears will outscore plenty of teams regardless of what the defense does.

“Having that foundation really allows us to start from a much higher level than we were before. Having a quarterback that threw for over 4,300 yards last year is a huge benefit, but now we have to make sure we have the weapons around him to make sure he’s as productive as he can be,” said Miller.

If Watson and Summit Academy’s offense comes anywhere close to duplicating last year’s production, it’s tough to see how anyone else in 2A North can keep up.

While South Summit has its own question marks with a new coaching staff, last year’s third-place region team Emery has even more question marks with only a couple of returning starters on both sides of the ball. It was no match for Summit Academy in the quarterfinals a year ago, and closing that gap this season will depend on how quickly a bunch of underclassmen get acclimated to varsity football.

The bottom half of the 2A region a year ago was Providence Hall, Judge Memorial and American Leadership. Both Providence Hall and ALA have new head coaches, and of those bottom three the team most likely to challenge the upper-tier teams is Providence Hall.

The Patriots had moments last season when they competed with teams like South Summit and Beaver for a quarter or even a half, but with eight offensive starters back and seven defensive, they’re optimistic about sustaining that effort more consistently over four quarters.

“We have a core group of returning starters that are committed and ready to play all out. Expectations have never been this high for Patriot football,” said first-year Providence Hall coach Jake Hardcastle.

As for Judge and ALA, they went a combined 2-19 a year ago. Judge got shut out five times, but still managed to record a victory over ALA on the final day of the regular season, 14-6.

Despite the obvious struggles both programs endured a year ago, the silver lining for each was they were relying heavily on underclassmen. Many of those players are back which gives both programs a solid foundation to try and build on.

2A South projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. Summit Academy Bears

2021 record: 7-5 (second in 2A North with a 4-1 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 4 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to San Juan, 60-35, in the 2A semifinals.

All-time record: 72-41 (10 years).

State titles: 1 (2018).

Region titles: 3 (2016, 2017 co, 2018).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Ryan Miller. Miller is heading into the second season as head coach at Summit Academy after previously serving as an assistant. The Bears went 7-5 in his debut season. He’s a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill High School in Canada and BYU.

Coach Ryan Miller’s general outlook: Summit Academy returns a number of key pieces for the 2022 season after a successful 2021 campaign which finished with a loss to eventual 2A champion San Juan in the semifinals. Summit will look to build a more balanced offense after relying on the pass in 2021. Quarterback Devin Watson and his 4,400 yards passing will return, along with several key receivers, but Summit must be able to establish a more consistent running attack in 2022.

Defensively, the state’s leading tackler in 2021, Gabe Wilbur, has been lost to graduation, but Summit returns seven starters from 2021 and looks to improve its physicality, particularly in stopping the run. As is always the case in 2A, staying healthy will play a key part of Summit Academy’s success, but if the injury bug can be avoided and the ball bounces the right way a couple of times, Summit hopes to build on last year’s finish.

Offensive coordinator: Toby Stines.

2021 offense: 36.7 ppg (No. 2 in 2A)

  • Six returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Koa Sylvester, Sr., WR
  • Drew Mellen, Sr., OL
  • Logan Bastian, Sr., OL
  • Josh Morrill, Jr., WR
  • Devin Watson, Sr., QB
  • Will Dayton, Sr., WR

Key offensive newcomers

  • Kyle Lively, So., WR
  • Aden Stines, Jr., WR
  • Tarun Perisami, Jr., OL
  • Gavin Talbot, Sr., RB
  • Bronson Dixon, So., RB
  • Lane Despain, Sr., OL

Defensive coordinator: Justin Wilbur

2021 defense: 23.3 ppg (No. 7 in 2A)

  • Seven returning starters
  • 3-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

Larsen Dixon, Sr., LB

Khai Matagi, Jr., LB

Owen Egler, Jr., DL

Josh Gomez, Sr., DB

Will Dayton, Sr., DB

Koa Sylvester, Sr., DB

Sawyer Rasmussen, Sr., DL

Key defensive newcomers

Ace Dressler, Jr., LB

Braxton Smith, Sr., DB

Lane Despain, Sr., DL

Logan Serr, Jr., LB

2. Emery Spartans

2021 record: 6-6 (third in 2A North with a 3-2 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 5 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Summit Academy, 37-14, in the 2A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 260-336-4 (60 years).

State titles: 1 (1987).

Region titles: 8 (1967 co, 1987, 1988 co, 1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Jon Faimalo. Entering his seventh season as head coach at Emery, with a 18-45 record his first six seasons. He’s a graduate of Emery High School and Snow College.

Coach Jon Faimalo’s general outlook: We lost a lot of seniors who played key positions but have a lot of young talent that are ready to step in and fill those shoes

Offensive coordinator: Chris Justice

2021 offense: 23.3 ppg (No. 7 in 2A)

  • Three returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Creek Sharp, WR
  • Treg Miller, WR
  • Dane Sitterud

Key offensive newcomers

  • Wade Stilson, QB
  • Easton Thornley, OL
  • Thomas McElprang, OL
  • Sebastian Hennes, WR

Defensive coordinator: Jon Faimalo

Emery defense: 21.5 ppg (No. 5 in 2A)

  • Four returning starters
  • 4-3 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Creek Sharp, CB
  • Treg Miller, Safety
  • Kelby Jones, DL
  • Koalton Curtis, LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Bowen Sitterud, DL
  • Matt Olsen, LB

3. South Summit Wildcats

2021 record: 11-1 (first in 2A North with a 5-0 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 2 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Beaver, 21-14, in the 2A semifinals.

All-time record: 413-346-8 (84 years).

State titles: 8 (1977, 1978, 1984, 1988, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018).

Region titles: 13 (1925, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1977 co, 2000, 2009 co, 2013 co, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Mike Ruf. Heading into his first season as head coach at his alma mater.

Coach Mike Ruf’s general outlook: First year taking over. Excited for the opportunity. Sky is the limit with the group of boys we have.

Offensive coordinators: Rob Gempeler, Mical Bracken.

2021 offense: 35.9 ppg (No. 3 in 2A)

  • Six returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Caleby Thompson, Slot
  • Juan Ramirez, WE
  • Stone Edmunds, OL
  • JC Rockhill, OL
  • Teagan Hutson, OL
  • Gavin Ross, OL

Defensive coordinators: Mike Osguthorpe, Justin Rockhill

2021 defense: 14.92 ppg (No. 2 in 2A)

  • Five returning starters
  • 4-4 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Brady Freeman
  • Noah Gunnerson
  • Maddoc Cox
  • Rocky Millburn
  • Bode Monninger
  • Chris Sennas

4. Providence Hall Patriots

2021 record: 5-7 (fourth in 2A North with a 2-3 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 7 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to South Summit, 33-17, in the 2A quarterfinals.

All-time record: 9-22 (3 years).

State titles: None.

Region titles: None.

2022 schedule

Head coach: Jake Hardcastle. Heading into his first season as head coach at Providence Hall.

Coach Jake Hardcastle’s general outlook: We have a core group of returning starters that are committed and ready to play all out. Expectations have never been this high for Patriot football. Coming off our best offseason yet, we have leaders emerging and we are stronger and faster than we have ever been. Patriot football has gone through a lot of adversity the last few years and yet we have great seniors and juniors that have come through all of it better on the other side.

Offensive coordinator: Brian Jacketta

2021 offense: 25.6 ppg (No. 6 in 2A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • Pro spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Maile Fonua, Jr., OL
  • Pesi Fonua, Jr., OL
  • Lemuel De Jesus, Sr., OL
  • Alex Reynolds, Jr., OL
  • Tate Edwards, Sr., WR
  • Cooper Starks, Sr., RB
  • Job Barlow, Sr., TE
  • Jaiden Reyes, Jr., WR

Key offensive newcomers

  • Spencer Gaillard, Sr., RB
  • Boden Welch, Jr., OL
  • Robin Limutau, Sr., WR

Defensive coordinator: Dave Smith

2021 defense: 21.4 ppg (No. 4 in 2A)

  • Seven returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Returning defensive starters

BJ Smith, Sr., DB

Justin Foster, Sr., DE

Easton Thompson, LB

Job Barlow, Sr., DE

Cooper Starks, Sr., LB

Tate Edwards, Sr., DB

Cade Fox, Jr., DB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Dwayne Roebeck, Sr., DL
  • Matheus Silva, Sr., DB
  • Jacob Stanger, Sr., DB

5. American Leadership Eagles

2021 record: 1-10 (sixth in 2A North with a 0-5 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 11 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Delta, 49-10, in the 2A first round.

All-time record: 41-122 (16 years).

State titles: None.

Region titles: None.

2022 schedule

Head coach: Kyle Purvis. Previously the head girls basketball coach at ALA, Kyle Purvis is taking over as the school’s head football coach. He’s a graduate of American Fork High School and UVU.

Offensive coordinator: Kyle Purvis

2021 offense: 12.18 ppg (No. 10 in 2A)

  • Seven returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • McKay Twitchell, Sr., G
  • Ryan Seely, Sr., T
  • Wyatt Jacobsen, Sr., G
  • Champ Porter, Sr., TE
  • Tad Swarnes, Soph., RB/DB
  • Raj Singh, Sr., WR
  • Briggs Nielson, Soph., C

Key offensive newcomers

  • Jake Nye, Sr., QB
  • Noah Swarnes, Soph., WR

Defensive coordinator: Lee Nordyke.

2021 defense: 42.64 ppg (No. 11 in 2A).

  • Three returning starters
  • 4-2 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Tad Swarnes, Soph., DE
  • Champ Porter, Sr., LB
  • Gabe Huff, Jr., LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Colton Edwards, Jr., DB
  • Chris Marble, Jr., DB
  • Thomas O’Donnell, Jr., LB

6. Judge Memorial Bulldogs

2021 record: 1-9 (fifth in 2A North with a 1-4 record).

2021 RPI ranking: No. 10 in 2A.

2021 postseason: Lost to Providence Hall, 44-12, in the 2A first round.

All-time record: 455-406-9 (95 years).

State titles: 11 (1948, 1949, 1959, 1953, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1981, 1983, 2013, 2014).

Region titles: 18 (1948, 1949, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 co, 1972, 1977 co, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1993 co, 2008, 2013, 2014).

2022 schedule

Head coach: Will Hawes. Entering his fourth season as head coach at Judge Memorial, where his teams are 3-27 the past three years. Previously coached at Layton Christian and Clearfield. He was at Layton Christian from 2007 to 2011, finishing with a 21-29 record, and was Clearfield’s coach in 2012 and 2013 ending with a 5-15 record. He’s a graduate of Locke High School in California and Weber State.

Coach Will Hawes’ general outlook: Our team mission this season is to put ourselves in position each week to win the game. We want to play fast, hard and under control. We want to govern ourselves with class and perform the Bulldog way! We want to execute on all teams and have fun while doing it.

Offensive coordinator: Jack Stahl

2021 offense: 6.9 ppg (No. 11 in 2A)

  • Eight returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Isaiah Hemmings, Sr., RB/WR
  • Patrick Clark, Sr., WR
  • Drew Hansen-Coomes, Sr., OL
  • Kevin Pernich, Sr., WR
  • Calvin McAward, Jr., QB/RB/WR
  • Henry Thompson, Jr., Slot
  • Ricky Bird, Jr., QB/WR
  • Malakhy Smith, So., OL

Key offensive newcomers

  • Tyrese Boyce, Jr., RB
  • Tyree Pearson, So., OL /TE
  • Kyle Fredericks, Jr., TE

Defensive coordinator: James Cordova

2021 defense: 40.5 ppg (No. 10 in 2A)

  • Nine returning starters
  • 4-3 defense

Returning defensive starters

Isaiah Hemmings, Sr., SS

Patrick Clark, Sr., FS

Drew -Hansen- Coomes, Sr., DL

Kevin Pernich, Sr., OLB

Henry Thompson, Jr., CB

Malakhy Smith, So., NG

Lucas Maxwell, Sr., MLB

Jack Gose, Sr., OLB/DE

Adrian Aguirre, Sr., DT

Key defensive newcomers

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Kaden Merrills, Jr., CB

Tyree Pearson, So., DE/DT

Tyrese Boyce, Jr., OLB

Kyle Fredericks, Jr., DE

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