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High school football: Hillcrest Huskies 2020 preview

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

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Note: Hillcrest finished with a 2-9 overall record in 2019 and was sixth in Region 6 with a 1-5 record. It was RPI seed No. 24 in the 5A playoffs, and was eliminated by Wasatch 42-6 in first round.


SANDY — Even if he was an assistant coach for a lot of years, 2019 brought a new experience for Brock Bryant, as he took the reins of the Hillcrest Huskies for his first head coaching job.

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Courtesy Hillcrest High School


Head coach: Brock Bryant

Entering his second season as head coach at Hillcrest after recording a 2-9 record in his debut season in 2019. He’s a graduate of Olympus High School and the University of Utah.

The Huskies went just 2-9 last season, but that was the most wins for the program in a campaign since 2016, and Bryant is looking forward this year to continuing to build the program off the field with the idea in mind that the work will manifest itself on it.

“It’s been fun just to implement these things that I have learned as a coach over the years that I’ve seen work,” he said, pointing to the fact he was previously on a staff at Cyprus that rebuilt the program into a team that went 7-3 in 2018. “It’s been fun to see these kids buy into it and take accountability and to see it put in action. It’s working.”

That said, Bryant doesn’t hide from the fact that still a bunch of progress needs to be made for Hillcrest to come close to making serious noise.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said, “but it’s been fun to see the kids grow. Their grades are up and we’ve got about 80 kids out for the program right now, which Hillcrest hasn’t seen for a long time, so it’s been good.

“It’s been fun to see that change that’s occurred from Year 1 to Year 2. The kids are starting to understand my philosophy and my program and what’s expected of them, and I hope we just move forward with that, building that foundation.”


Hillcrest Huskies at a glance

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

“It’s a burden sometimes, but I think the kids live with it, because they know it’s something they’ve got to do, because without it, they’re not playing. I think they feel lucky and blessed that they get to do it, and I do, too.”

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2020 Schedule

Aug. 14 — TIMPANOGOS, 7 p.m.

Aug. 21 — COPPER HILLS, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — at Judge Memorial, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 — at Highland, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — at Payson, 7 p.m.

Sept. 24 — MURRAY, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — OLYMPUS, 7 p.m.

Oct. 8 — at Brighton, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 — at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.

Hillcrest offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Lee Chart

2019 offense: 14.5 ppg (23rd in 5A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • Six returning starters
  • Multiple Power I offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Talon Yates (RB/QB)
  • Anthony Vail (WR/QB)
  • Gavin Hawley (OL)
  • Max Greenwood (OL)
  • Andre Villanueva (OL)
  • Ata Birima (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Aidan Kuhlman (RB)
  • Stevie Leo (WR)
  • Zac Erickson (TE)
  • Brady Dicarro (FB)
Coach Bryant’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“The offense will be successful if we stay healthy. I think these kids, this will be their second year with the offense under their belt. They feel confident about it. I’m really pleased with how they’ve been executing, but we’re going to be playing a lot of Ironman football. Kids are going to be playing both ways. Our offense will be successful if we’re conditioned.”


Hillcrest defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Matt Lewis

2019 defense: 32.0 ppg (23rd in 5A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • Five returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Braxton Bosch (LB)
  • Zac Erickson (LB)
  • Anthony Vail (DB)
  • Max Greenwood (LB/DL)
  • Gavin Hawley (DL)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Brady Dicarro (LB)
  • Talon Yates (LB)
Coach Bryant’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“We need to learn how to communicate. Communication is the key.”

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Coaches preseason Region 6 straw poll
  1. Olympus
  2. Brighton
  3. Highland
  4. Murray
  5. Skyline
  6. Hillcrest

Deseret News outlook for 2020

Success is still a relative term for Hillcrest, but the program appears to be headed in the right direction. The Huskies were still picked by coaches to finish last in Region 6, but with a number of veterans on the roster, can they capitalize on a weak nonregion schedule and grab a couple more wins in region play? That would certainly be a good season in Midvale.


Felt’s Facts for Hillcrest

  • All-time record: 230-331-8 (58 years)

  • Region championships: 7 (1966 co, 1968, 1975, 1980, 1981 co, 1983, 1984 co)

  • Playoff appearances: 23

  • All-time playoff record: 10-23

  • State championships: 0

  • State championship record: 0-0

  • Most played rivalry: 43 meetings with Brighton dating back to 1969. Brighton leads 31-12. Last met in 2010.


Last 5 Seasons

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

Hillcrest coaching history


  • 2019-current — Brock Bryant (2-9)
  • 2018 — Ron Hill (0-9)
  • 2016-2017 — Cazzie Brown (4-16)
  • 2014-2015 — David Hastings (7-16)

  • 2011-2013 — Casey Miller (7-23)

  • 2005-2010 — Kirk Merhish (15-44)

  • 2000-2004 — Bruce Takeno (29-33)

  • 1993-1999 — Lee Leslie (34-34)

  • 1986-1992 — Jerry Haslam (25-38)

  • 1978-1985 — Jerry Simonson (49-33)

  • 1975-1977 — Robert Burns (12-16)

  • 1967-1974 — Raynor Pearce (44-32)

  • 1964-1966 — Tom Lovat (11-14-3)

  • 1962-1963 — Mickey Culletson (1-14-3)


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Deseret News All-State Archives

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