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High school football: Uintah Utes 2019 Preview

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Note: Uintah finished with a 0-9 overall record in 2018 and was sixth in Region 10 with a 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.

Uintah 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

VERNAL — It was one of the most lopsided games of the season, and really epitomized the season for Uintah. With mostly sophomores and juniors in the starting lineup, Uintah got crushed by top-ranked Orem 75-0 which included a 55-0 deficit at the half.

It was the most points given up by Uintah in at least 50 years, and perhaps the most in school history. The shutout was the fourth of the season for the Utes, who averaged less than a touchdown a game in 2018.

It would’ve been easy for coach Mike Peterson to walk away after that one season — especially after taking over so late in the process in the summer — but Peterson has been very impressed with his team’s work ethic since the end of last season and is excited about the 2019 season.

“I’ve loved the game for so many years, and I love these kids and right now they need somebody,” said Peterson, who’s going into his 34th season coaching in Uintah.

A year ago Uintah only had five seniors on the squad, and only three of them played regularly.

Even this year Uintah will probably start more juniors than seniors, but both groups should be much better prepared physically to handle the rigors in the revamped Region 10.

There are several games on the schedule, both in region and in the preseason, that Uintah should be competitive in this season assuming it stays healthy and doesn’t have to start too many sophomores.

Uintah Utes at a glance

Coach: Mike Peterson is entering his second straight season as Uintah’s head coach, and third overall having served as an interim coach back in 2005. His overall record is 5-14. He’s a graduate of Cokeville High School in Wyoming.

Coach Peterson comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“There’s good things about it and bad things about it. Where we’re a rural school it could hurt us 'cause if they eventually do away with regions, it might be hard to schedule games out there. I know the tendency is they’re going to get away from regions. But the RPI also puts everybody in the playoffs, that gets kids a little extra experience who haven’t been in the playoffs before."

Uintah Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Mike Peterson

2018 offensive production: 6.6 ppg (25th in 4A)

-- Eight returning starters

-- Pro-style offense

Key offensive returning starters

-- Rylan Spencer (RB)

A quick returning starter at running back who should be able to keep opposing defenses honest at the perimeter.

-- Jacob Schneider (OL)

One of three returning starters on the offensive line, Schneider will be one of the keys of a group that should be markedly better than last year.

Returning offensive starters

Jadon Horrocks (RB)

Riggs Anderson (WR)

Rylan Spencer (RB)

Jacob Schneider (OL)

Derek Tenney (OL)

Gavin Shope (WR)

Nikolas Bernard (OL)

Jayce Anderson (TE)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Carter Smith (QB)

Jackson Liesik (OL)

Coach Peterson comments on experienced offensive line:

“Those linemen that played last year as sophomores getting their butts kicked by 5A schools, they’re holding their own this summer. I talked to them at the end of the year last year and said, 'Look, you were just young kids and I threw you into varsity action and you got your butts kicked, but you didn’t drop your head.’ I told them I wanted them to get in the weight room and get stronger, bigger and faster, and they did. They bought into it.”

Coach Peterson comments on running backs Rylan Spencer and Jadon Horrocks:

“Rylan is a small running back, he only goes about 165, but he’s a quick, fast track kid. In camp against Timpanogos we got him on the outside and he just beat them all down the outside. Jadon Horrocks is about 195 and a little stronger. He’s not quite as fast, but he probably has quicker feet to make more instinctive cutting ability, so between the two of them that I can alternate in there they're a pretty good pair of running backs.”

Coach Peterson comments on tight end Jayce Anderson:

“He’s legit. BYU came and looked at him last year and they took one look at him and they said, ‘He’s only a sophomore.' He’s about 6-3, 235 and he’s a junior and he has great hands. He’ll be one of our go-to guys. If I have a quarterback who can get him the ball he’d probably have 80 catches 'cause that’s all I’d throw to.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

Quarterback is one of the big question marks this season. The projected starter recently moved out of state, and the job will likely either come down to Carter Smith or Riggs Anderson. Smith is a junior and Anderson is a senior who started at receiver last year. Consistency at the position will be key.

Uintah Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Clint Sampson

2018 defensive production: 46.9 ppg (24th in 4A)

-- Four returning starters

-- 3-5 defense

Key defensive returning starters

-- Jadon Horrocks (LB)

A strong presence in the middle of the field for the Utes who should have a strong season.

-- Riggs Anderson (S/LB)

A hybrid safety/linebacker, Anderson will be one of the keys defensively for Uintah.

Returning defensive starters

Jadon Horrocks (LB)

Riggs Anderson (S/LB)

Rylan Spencer (CB)

Dylan Swift (LB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Brent Bonynge (DL)

Jayce Anderson (DL)

Derek Tenney (DL)

Jacob Schneider (DL)

Gavin Shope (CB)

Carter Smith (CB)

Coach Peterson comments on switching to a 3-5 defense:

“The key to our defense playing this 3-5 are those front three. We’re going to rotate them and we’re going to try and develop about 6-8 kids that can play so we can rotate in every position. But the key to the 3-5, everything we’ve learned about the 3-5, it doesn’t matter if they penetrate and sack the quarterback, it’s that they draw double teams. They have to take those five and let our linebackers do the rest of the work because we’ll stunt a lot of different areas.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2019:

Uintah ranked second to last in 4A last year allowing 46.9 ppg, and was only really competitive against rival Union. To help shore up that defense, the team is switching to a 3-5 defense to take advantage of the athletes it has at linebacker and to try to keep the defensive linemen fresher throughout games and the season.

Coaches preseason Region 10 straw poll: Sixth

Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Eighth

Key Region Game: vs. Mountain View, Sept. 13 (Week 4)

Bottom line

There’s too much uncertainty to expect Uintah to secure its first winning season since a 5-4 record in 2008, but there’s no reason this group shouldn’t make huge strides compared to last season. The defense is older and strong and physically should be able to compete, while offensively there’s experience on the line that should help move the chains a bit more often. A couple of wins would definitely be a step in the right direction.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 23 — at Union, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — PROVIDENCE HALL, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 —at Park City, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 — MOUNTAIN VIEW, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — at Cedar Valley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — at Ogden, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 — TOOELE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 — BEN LOMOND, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 — at Stansbury, 7 p.m.


Felt’s Facts for Uintah High School

All-time record: 237-397-6 (73 years)

Region championships: 8 (1931, 1949, 1958, 1959, 1994, 1998, 2000 co, 2001 co)

Playoff appearances: 22

Current playoff appearance streak: 0

All-time playoff record: 10-21

State championships: 1 (1994)

State championship record: 1-1

Most played rivalry: 78 meetings with Union dating back to 1951. Union leads 41-36-1.

Felt’s Factoid: Ute Rhett Deets accumulated 2,741 all-purpose yards (ranks fourth all time) in leading Uintah to an undefeated championship season in 1994.


Last 5

  • 2018 — 0-9 (0-5 in Region 10 - Missed playoffs)
  • 2017 — 1-8 (0-5 in Region 10 - Missed playoffs)
  • 2016 — 4-6 (1-5 in Region 8 - Missed playoffs)
  • 2015 — 2-8 (1-5 in Region 8 - Missed playoffs)
  • 2014 — 4-7 (2-4 in 3AA North - Missed playoffs)


Uintah coaching history

  • 2018-current — Mike Peterson (0-9)
  • 2017 — Todd Peacock (1-8)
  • 2015-2016 — Nate Heaps (6-14)
  • 2012-2014 — Cody Reutzel (8-22)
  • 2007-2011 — Doug Harding (14-34)
  • 2006 — Kevin Dickson (2-7)
  • 2005 — Mike Petersen (5-5)
  • 2003-2004 — Kevin Dickson (9-13)
  • 1990-2002 — Curg Belcher (72-52)
  • 1988-1989 — Jeff Gustin (2-16)
  • 1985 -1987 — Hank Nawahine (9-19)
  • 1977- 1984 — Curg Belcher (17-46)
  • 1975-1976 — Phil Johnson (4-13)
  • 1972-1974 — Gordon Olsen (4-22)
  • 1968-1971 — Unknown (0-38)
  • 1965-1967 — Ted Taylor (9-15)
  • 1960-1964 — Louis Mele (18-25-2)
  • 1955-1959 — Leo Conk (25-15)
  • 1954 — Unknown (2-2-1)
  • 1951-1953 — Jack Woodbury (6-10-1)
  • 1946-1950 — Frank W. Wright
  • 1942-1945 — LeGrand Tea
  • 1940-1941 — Unknown
  • 1939 — Frank W. Wright
  • 1932-1938 — Unknown (1-4-1)
  • 1931 — Carl Davis (4-1-1)
  • 1929-1930 — Unknown (8-2)


Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years


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