Note: Cedar finished with a 5-6 overall record in 2019 and was fifth in Region 9 with a 3-4 record. It was RPI seed No. 13 in the 4A playoffs and was eliminated by Green Canyon 28-21 in second round

CEDAR CITY — There’s plenty to be excited about for the Reds in 2020.

Head coach: Josh Bennett

Entering his sixth season as Cedar City’s head coach, tallying a 21-30 record over the past five seasons. He’s a graduate of Millard High School and Southern Utah University.

First of all, Josh Bennett’s team is loaded with returning starters on both sides of the ball, and there’s depth behind them as well.

“This is my sixth year as a head coach, and this is the most experience we have returning. It’s not a guarantee we’re going to win or be successful, but it does help as far as implementing stuff,” said Bennett.

Just as encouraging is those players head into the season with a chip on their shoulders, particularly defensively. Last year Bennett said his defense honestly wasn’t that good. It had some good halves, but giving up 59 points to Dixie, 56 to Desert Hills and 55 to Snow Canyon is never a recipe for success.

Depth could be the key to trying to improve upon its fifth-place finish in Region 9 last year.

“I don’t feel like we’ve had very much depth in the past, and I feel like this year we finally have some depth, which makes a difference in the fourth quarter and later in the season,” said Bennett.

Senior quarterback Jaron Garrett could be a star offensively in 4A as he returns after passing for 3,185 yards and 23 TDs a year ago. One of his top weapons, Kolbe Meek, returns as well this year after being named all-state in 2019.

Cedar City Reds at a glance

Bennett’s thoughts on how his players dealt the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“I feel like our kids have handled it well. Usually in the spring we meet and we start our offseason lifting and conditioning, and because of the virus we weren’t able to do that. So what we had to do was send out the workouts we wanted them to do on their own. We felt like we had good leadership, we have a pretty good senior class, and we felt like they got it done. When they came back this summer, we could tell they had been doing it.”

2020 schedule

Aug. 14 — SPANISH FORK, 7 p.m.

Aug. 21 — JUAB, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — at Taylorsville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 — at Crimson Cliffs, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11 — at Pine View, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — at Dixie, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 — CANYON VIEW, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — at Desert Hills, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 — HURRICANE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 — SNOW CANYON, 7 p.m.

Cedar City offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Josh Bennett

2019 offense: 30.4 (ninth in 4A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 10 returning starters
  • Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Jaron Garrett (QB)
  • Seth Brinkerhoff (RB)
  • Trey Payne (TE)
  • Jack Cook (WR)
  • Kolbe White (WR)
  • Kian Tullis (C)
  • Trevor Nielsen (G)
  • Eliot Corser (G)
  • Parker Allen (OT)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Ben Ellis (RB)
Bennett’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“Obviously staying healthy. With this virus thing, I feel like we’ve lost a little bit of training, but I feel like the kids were doing their home workouts. If we can stay healthy, I think we’re going to be right there competing. We’ve always been competitive, but we’re hoping to take it to another level this year. We want to try and run the ball a little more. Last year we felt like throwing the ball was one of our strengths, and I think it will be again, but we want to try and put a little more emphasis on running the ball this year in hopes it frees up our passing game even more this year.”

Cedar City defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Mark Esplin

2019 defense: 31.1 ppg (13th in 4A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • Nine returning starters
  • 3-3-5 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Sivai Dotson (DE)
  • Nate Stubbs (DE)
  • Leland Mayes (NG)
  • Payton Murray (MLB)
  • Ben Ellis (LB)
  • Seth Brinkerhoff (LB)
  • Kolbe White (FS)
  • Charles Cook (S)
  • Trey Payne (LB)
Bennett’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“Scheme-wise we’ve got a bit different scheme. Having some experience on that side of the ball will definitely help, and just having some leadership, kids saying, ‘Enough is enough, we’ve got to make a stand here.’ We had a very difficult time last year getting off the field on third down. We’d get teams kind of right where we want them on third and long and even fourth and long and we would always give that up, so that’s one of our goals this year is to get off the field on third down.”

Coaches preseason Region 9 straw poll

  1. Snow Canyon
  2. Dixie
  3. Pine View
  4. Desert Hills
  5. Cedar City
  6. Crimson Cliffs
  7. Hurricane
  8. Canyon View
Deseret News outlook for 2020

If ever there was a year for Cedar City to break into the top three in Region 9, this is the year. Aside for Snow Canyon, which has plenty of returning talent on both sides of the ball, all the other contenders in Region 9 have question marks on one side of the ball or the other. Cedar, meanwhile, is stacked with returning talent on both sides. Scoring won’t be a problem this year, but getting stops in the second half will either make or break this team in 2020.

Felt’s Facts for Cedar City

  • All-time record: 369-324-8 (73 years)

  • Region championships: 18 (1953, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985 co, 1987, 1994 co, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010 co)

  • Playoff appearances: 42
  • All-time playoff record: 30-42

  • State championships: 0

  • State championship record: 0-3

  • Most played rivalry: 89 meetings with Dixie dating back to 1949 in the second-longest uninterrupted active rivalry in Utah. Dixie leads 57-33.

Last five seasons

  • 2019 — 5-6 (3-4 in Region 9 — 4A second round)
  • 2018 — 3-6 (1-5 in Region 9 — missed playoffs)
  • 2017 — 4-6 (3-3 in Region 9 — 4A first round)
  • 2016 — 4-6 (1-4 in 3AA South — 3A first round)
  • 2015 — 5-6 (2-3 in 3AA South — 3AA quarterfinals)

Cedar City coaching history

  • 2015-current — Josh Bennett (21-30)
  • 1991-2014 — Todd Peacock (149-116)

  • 1986-1990 — Kit Janes (19-31)

  • 1980-1985 — Dave Jensen (43-18)

  • 1977-1979 — Jim Dalton (10-18)

  • 1974-1976 — Jack Bishop (12-14)

  • 1971-1973 — John Pensis (14-21)

  • 1970 — Jim Marshall (2-6)

  • 1967-1969 — Unknown

  • 1966 — Jack Sawyers (4-3)

  • 1956-1965 — Harold Norton (49-30)

  • 1952-1955 — Glen Jackson (26-6)

  • 1937-1950 — Unknown

Deseret News All-State Archives

Check out our archives of Deseret News all-state teams from 1929 to 2019 at

Cedar City All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2019 — Kolbe Meek, ATH
  • 2016 — Jade Bulloch, MLB
  • 2016 — Quaid Murray, C
  • 2015 — Koalman Kimber, OL
  • 2015 — Jade Bulloch, LB
  • 2014 — Koalman Kimber, OL
  • 2013 — Kole Dotson, OL

  • 2011 — John Ursua, QB

  • 2011 — Kahi Eldredge, OL

  • 2010 — Matt Grover, RB

  • 2010 — Connor Ottenbacher, OL