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High school football: Green Canyon Wolves 2019 preview

Note: Green Canyon finished with a 4-7 overall record in 2018 and was tied for third in Region 12 with a 2-3 record. It lost to Dixie 42-21 in the 4A first round.

Green Canyon 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

NORTH LOGAN — A new high school always hopes for success on the football field its first year, but it’s rarely realistic. The second year is usually better with more upperclassmen, but it’s the third season when a program really can make a mark.

That’s when all those kids who started as sophomores finally become seniors and take a wealth of experience on the field with them every Friday night.

That’s the situation third-year school Green Canyon is in heading into the 2019 season, and coach Craig Anhder hopes it pays dividends.

“It’s been an interesting transition being here and starting new, but I think we’re settling into being our own school, we’re not talking about Sky View or this or that, we’re talking about us,” said Anhder. “We’re taking steps in the right direction. I think it is time to take the next step.”

Green Canyon went 3-7 in its first season in 2017 and missed the playoffs, but last year it added one more win to qualify for the 4A playoffs. The Wolves went 2-3 in region play, and four of the five games were close in the fourth quarter.

Green Canyon only had five seniors in the first season and 10 last year. This season Anhder expects roughly 20 seniors on the team, and even though he acknowledges that doesn’t guarantee success he said it demonstrates that the foundation of the program is taking hold and kids want to be a part of it.

With six starters back on offense and six more on defense, Green Canyon should be very competitive in the always-tough Northern Utah region.

Green Canyon Wolves at a glance

Coach: Craig Anhder is entering his third season at Green Canyon, amassing a 7-14 record the first two years. He previously coached at Sky View for 12 seasons and has an overall head coaching record of 97-60.

Coach Anhder comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“I like it, but I think there’s a few quirks I’m a little concerned about. We’re 4A and we play three 5A schools, and they’re quality 5A schools but their win-loss record might be different if they were a 4A school which would help our RPI so there’s that concern there for us. We’re going to go play some bigger schools, and they probably won’t be undefeated, so we’re not going to have the strength of schedule yet I think our schedule is going to be stronger than those that may show a stronger strength of schedule. But that’s a little worry, at the end of the day we’re all going to be given a chance in the playoffs and you’ve got to go win.”

Green Canyon Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Joaby Parker

2018 offensive production: 27.1 ppg (11th in 4A)

-- Six returning starters

-- Spread offense

Key offensive returning starters

-- Joe Dygert (QB)

Passed for 1,873 yards and 18 TDs last year, but did throw 12 interceptions, something he’ll be looking to clean up this year.

-- Jack Radford (OL)

Will anchor the offensive line as one of three returning starters.

Returning offensive starters

Joe Dygert (QB)

McKay Yorgason (WR)

Jacob Lundin (Skill)

Jack Radford (OL)

Blaze Christensen (OL)

Bryce Christensen (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Shaun Weber (OL)

Jacob Regen (TE)

Brennan Dean (RB)

Ty Spencer (WR)

Tanner Watson (WR)

Coach Anhder comments on returning starting QB Joe Dygert:

“I’m hoping the experience translates on the field. I still think he’s young, I still think he’s hungry. And young in the sense that he wants to learn more, he wants to get better, he doesn’t feel like he’s arrived. I like that, I like that he wants to get better at it. He’s been working hard this summer. The thing I really like is it’s helping teach the younger kids how we want things to be and that’s incredibly valuable and we may not see the results for a couple years.”

Coach Anhder comments on three returning offensive lineman:

“Blaze Christensen has been hurt, he’s had to have shoulder surgery, but we’re hoping we get him back for the start of the year. Jack Radford is a three-year starter, one of the studs of our team. He actually lost a little weight and got leaner. He’s faster, more mobile. I think he’ll be one of the dominant O-linemen out there. Bryce Christensen has gotten strong and gotten a couple of smaller schools in the Midwest that he’s excited for. He’s developed really well, worked really hard this offseason to become a better lineman.”

Coach Anhder comments on returning receiver McKay Yorgason:

“He’ll be a senior. He had a small fracture on his hip and didn’t do any spring stuff with us. He had it for a while and we didn’t know he had it and he played through it with basketball, but they finally figured out what it was and so we’re resting him up. He should be a weapon, he’s a hard guy to defend. He was a hard guy last year as a junior so we’re hoping he brings that same thing this year.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

With a three-year starting quarterback, a strong receiving core and an experienced offensive line, Green Canyon’s passing game should be solid from the opening week of the season. Anhder said it’s critical that his team gets the running game dialed in. He’s optimistic that can happen with a big offensive line, and a lot of that responsibility will fall on ball carriers Jacob Lundin and Brennan Dean.

Green Canyon Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Cameron Johnson

2018 defensive production: 32.3 ppg (18th in 4A)

-- Six returning starters

-- 3-3 stack defense

Key defensive returning starters

-- Carter White (LB)

Finished fourth on the team last year in tackles with 60 and he’ll take on an even larger role this year.

-- Jacob Regen (S)

Recorded 39 tackles as a defensive lineman last year, but he’s switching to safety this season.

Returning defensive starters

Jacob Regen (DL) – moving to S

Caleb Balls (DL) – moving to OL

Tristan Reece (LB)

Carter White (LB)

Caden Peterson (LB)

Gage Norton (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Travis Whiting (DL)

Kayson Krebs (DL)

John Carlson (DL)

McKade Hellstern (LB/S)

Jake Lundin (DB)

Mason Merrill (DB)

Tyson Smith (CB)

Carter Compton (CB)

Coach Anhder comments on undersized but effective defensive line:

“We’ve taken some wrestler types and put them on the D-line. We want to get speed out there on the field. In the spring they created a lot of havoc. We scrimmaged some other teams and their speed has created a lot of chaos. This isn’t an exaggeration, one kid weighs 150, another kid weighs 165, and I think our third defensive lineman weighs 185-190, so they are small but they’re extremely fast.”

Coach Anhder comments on experienced linebackers:

“It really helps us attack. We’ve been able to make some adjustments to fit our personnel a little bit and because of their experience it’s really helped. The other thing, it brings a calmness. Some of the new kids coming out, they see those guys and they see the look in their eye and it calms them down and helps them to focus and play.”

Keys for defensive success in 2019:

When Green Canyon’s coaches went back and looked at film from last year, they noticed that defensively the team was usually at its best when its trio of undersized defensive linemen were in the game. It happened in a rotation so those players didn’t get worn down, but this year those players will play more snaps. With more wear and tear it will be critical those players stay healthy and effective all season.

Bottom line

Green Canyon won three games its first season and four its second. How big will the jump be in 2019? Five? Six? Seven? Or maybe even more? The pieces are all there for a really good season with experience on both sides of the ball and now it’s up to the players to seize the opportunity and contend for the region title.

Coaches preseason Region 11 straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News Region 11 prediction: Third

Key Region Game: at Sky View, Sept. 13 (Week 5)

2019 Schedule

Aug. 16 — TOOELE, 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 — at Bonneville, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — STANSBURY, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 — at Box Elder, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 — at Sky View, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — MOUNTAIN CREST, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — BEAR RIVER, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 — at Ridgeline, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 — LOGAN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 — at Woods Cross, 7 p.m.

...

Felts Facts for Grantsville High School

All-time record: 7-14

Region championships: 0

Playoff appearances: 1

Current playoff appearance streak: 1 (2018)

All-time playoff record: 0-1

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-0

Green Canyon coaching history

2017-current — Craig Anhder (7-14)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2018 — Brett Gasaway, RB

2018 — Ethan Delisle, P

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