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High school football: Payson Lions 2020 preview

Here’s an in-depth look at the Payson Lions football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Payson finished with a 3-8 overall record in 2019 and was seventh in Region 8 with a 0-6 record. It was RPI seed No. 22 in the 5A playoffs, and was eliminated by Lehi 42-0 in first round.


SANDY — After going 3-8 last season under head coach Derek Campbell, Payson enters a new era, with a new coach.

This year, the Lions will be playing as an independent with new head coach Jeb Clark, who has also been Payson’s wrestling coach for the last eight years. So far, Clark likes what he is seeing from the team and is seeing high participation numbers.

“I just feel like we’ve got quite a few more kids out playing and quite a few more athletes from the school. We’ve been able to get basketball players and baseball players, wrestlers and soccer players. So we’re just trying to make football players out of them now,” Clark said.

Offensively, Payson returns six starters on offense — three offensive linemen and three wide receivers, including Clay Carson, who had 226 receiving yards, good for second on the team last year. On defense, the Lions bring back five starters, Carson, who had 46 tackles and three interceptions, will be key.


Payson Lions at a glance

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

“Well, it’s been tricky, we didn’t get to do a lot of things during the spring. One of the areas that I felt like like it really hindered us was I was not able to get out and get into the junior highs and try to get kids out there and build up some of our freshmen, eighth grade, sophomore teams, just because I wasn’t able to get out there due to the schools being closed down. We just had to kind of do the spread the word kind of thing, you know? So that hurt us. Other than that it’s not too bad.”

Payson offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Jeb Clark/Dave Clark

2019 offense: 12.5 ppg (24th in 4A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 6 returning starters
  • Spread offense
Returning offensive starters

Clay Carson (WR)

Tanner Moss (W)

Cole Carson (OL)

Tate Sigard (OL)

Jeff Durant (OL)

  • Braxton Monroe (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Kaden Nelson (QB)
Coach Clark’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“We need to be able to obviously block. We’re strengthening our depth at our line and our depth elsewhere. We just got to get the ball to the right guys and of course execute. We gotta be able to execute the basics well.”


Payson defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Mike Cole

2019 defense: 31.4 ppg (22nd in 4A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 5 returning starters
  • 3-3 stack defense
Returning defensive starters

Tanner Moss (S)

Cole Carson (DL)

Tate Sigard (DL)

Jeff Durant (DL)

  • Braxton Monroe (LB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Tate Christensen
Coach Clark’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“We have to know our assignments and and I think we do. I think the defense is looking pretty stout right now. We’ve got some good speed. We’ve just got to fly around and of course make tackles. If we can do that, we’ll be in good shape.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

After a losing season last year, Payson could struggle again this year with not a ton of returning experience. A lot of the Lions’ success this year will be how fast their quarterback and running backs develop and how much the team is able to adapt to Clark’s system.


Felt’s Facts for Payson

  • All-time record: 391-477-39 (109 years)

  • Region championships: 15 (1909, 1919, 1921, 1925, 1928, 1932, 1943, 1949, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1976 co)

  • Playoff appearances: 26

  • All-time playoff record: 15-22-2

  • State championships: 4 (1925, 1943, 1969, 1971)

  • State championship record: 2-4-1. Payson and South Sevier tied in the semifinals in 1925, but no state championship was held. Both were awarded state titles.

  • Most played rivalry: 95 meetings with Springville dating back to 1909. Springville leads 57-31-7.

Last 5 seasons

  • 2019 — 3-8 (0-6 in Region 8 – 5A First round)
  • 2018 — 4-6 (1-4 in Region 10 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2017 — 4-7 (2-3 in Region 10 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2016 — 1-9 (0-6 in Region 8 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2015 — 1-8 (0-6 in Region 8 – Missed playoffs)

Payson coaching history

  • 2020 — Jeb Clark (0-0)
  • 2016-2019 — Derek Campbell (12-30)
  • 2009-2015 — Jeremy Chapman (18-52)

  • 2007-2008 — Jared Woolstenhulme (6-15)

  • 2003-2006 — Colby Knight (8-33)

  • 2001-2002 — Jamal Willis (3-17)

  • 1997-2000 — Rick Robbins (11-26)

  • 1988-1996 — Bart Peery (26-52)

  • 1984-1987 — David McKee (13-22)

  • 1981-1983 — Bob Cook (6-22)

  • 1956-1980 — Jim Durrant (137-96-8) *2 state titles
  • 1941-1955 — Don Fuller (70-44-12) *1 state title
  • 1940 — Unknown (1-5-1)

  • 1939 — Vern Waldo (3-5)

  • 1936-1938 — Unknown (6-9-7)

  • 1934-1935 — Stan Wilson (3-8-1)

  • 1928-1933 — Unknown (26-11-4)

  • 1927 — Mr. Wooley (3-2)

  • 1922-1926 — Unknown (12-8-4) *1 state title
  • 1921 — Hugh Sutton (4-2)

  • 1920 — Unknown (0-2)

  • 1919 — Dixon Kapple (5-1-1)

  • 1918 — Ray Monson (1-1)

  • 1916-1917 — Unknown (9-2)

  • 1915 — Mr. Cole (2-2-1)

  • 1909-1914 — Unknown (6-8)