EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Life has become a lot more busy for new Cedar Valley coach Weston Zabriskie, but he's loving every bit of it. In between trips to and from Monroe, where he was head coach at South Sevier, Zabriskie is undergoing all the steps to start up a new program, which includes having to bunk on his brother-in-law's couch for the time being.
But through all the struggles, Zabriskie relishes the opportunity ahead for himself and his players.
“There’s a lot of tough things starting here from scratch, but also a lot of fun things,” Zabriskie said. “Just revealing all the new stuff to the kids has been great for them and for the community.”
Cedar Valley High School is a result of an ever-growing Eagle Mountain area which most believe will continue expanding for years to come.
“It’s a great area. A growing area,” Zabriskie said. “It’s going to be a really nice school with nice facilities, and the administration is really behind us. So we’re really excited to get this thing going.”
As always, it's not easy to know what to expect from a first-year program, although Zabriskie has certain things he'd like to see from his team well in mind.
“The expectations are high. We expect to compete,” Zabriskie said. “The main thing is to respect the process, and if that happens I expect us to really compete in our first year. We just want to make sure we get better every day, and if you do that then things will take care of itself.”
Cedar Valley Aviators at a glance
Coach: Weston Zabriskie was head coach at South Sevier for nine years, accumulating a 31-64 over that stretch.
Cedar Valley offensive snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Jordan Smith
— Spread offense
Key offensive player
— Jaxon Hooley (QB): Zabriskie expects Hooley to be a big leader for his team and to put up good numbers as a starter.
Offensive players to watch
Jaxon Hooley (QB)
Dean Price (OL)
Jaxson Dastrup (WR)
Kainoa Baker (WR)
AJ Lindsey (RB)
Zabriskie on quarterback Jaxon Hooley:
“He’s done a great job this summer leading the other guys. He has natural leadership qualities which is what you want from your quarterback.”
Zabriskie on his team and goals for this year:
“We have kids who are really excited for the opportunity to set a culture. We talk to our seniors here all the time about that. It starts here this year and kids are excited about that opportunity. So it’s really important for not just this year, but for all the years after.”
Keys for offensive success in 2019: Hooley needs to be the type of player Zabriskie describes for the offense to put up big numbers. Things rarely go according to plan for any high school team, but particularly for a team in its first year, which dictates Hooley needs to prove steady throughout.
Cedar Valley defensive snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Dalton Dunn
— 4-2-5 defense
Key defensive player
— Gustavo Diaz (LB): Much as with Hooley at quarterback, Diaz is expected to lead on defense.
Defensive players to watch
Gustavo Diaz (LB)
Kaiden McMillen (DB)
Gage Olsen (DL)
Colton Smith (DB)
Eramis Laititi (DL)
Zabriskie on Gustavo Diaz:
“Gustavo is a great leader for us on that side of the ball. We feel he’ll be someone who really leads us in being a strong unit on the defensive side of the ball.”
Zabriskie on his defense in general:
“We’re going to have a really aggressive defense with 11 guys that really fly to the ball. We feel we have some good athletes that can form a very good unit.”
Keys for defensive success in 2019: Cedar Valley appears to have good depth for a first-year program, but players need to come ready to make plays from the start and not just settle in for the defense to be successful.
Coaches Region 10 preseason straw poll: Seventh
Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Sixth
Key region game: Oct. 10 vs. Mountain View
It's all but impossible to predict what a first-year program will look like, although Zabriskie's staff brings some good knowledge about the area and the kids in the program which would help. Look for the Aviators to prove competitive this season, as that appears to be the trend for first-year programs as of late.
Aug. 16 — at Maple Mountain, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23 — SPANISH FORK, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 — at Murray, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 — at Stansbury, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 — BEN LOMOND, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — UINTAH, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 — at Tooele, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 — OGDEN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 — MOUNTAIN VIEW, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — at Park City, 7 p.m.
Cedar Valley coaching history
- 2019 — Weston Zabriskie (0-0)