It’s good when a plan comes together. For North Fremont, it wasn’t necessarily a plan that the offense would be built around an experienced line; it was more of a necessity.
Losing talented skill players to graduation, including quarterback Garrett Hawkes, the Huskies had plenty of holes to plug, and three games into the 2019 season, the team seemingly hasn’t missed a beat.
This week the Huskies earned the No. 1 spot in the 2A state media poll after a 3-0 start. The team’s rushing game hasn’t been slowed, thanks in part to the return of three-year starter Riggen Cordingley in the backfield and the emergence of junior quarterback Luke Hill.
Hill was a backup to Hawkes last season.
“He has a good head on his shoulders and knows the offense,” coach Ben Lenz said. “Just stepping in and executing what we’ve done, it’s been an easy transition … He runs the option game well.”
The Huskies have put up 100 points through three games, including their toughest test yet in a 16-14 nonconference victory over Teton in Week 2.
Lenz noted the defensive secondary was relatively new and was challenged by Teton. So far the Huskies have four interceptions on the season and gave up a combined eight points in the other two games.
“We still got some growing pains to go through,” Lenz said. “But I really feel good how far we’ve come defensively.”
After making its first state title game appearance in 29 years last November, North Fremont’s success may ultimately depend on the offensive line, which could be good news for the Huskies with four returning seniors — Hayeden Hood, Tyler Shuldberg, Paul Wynn and Jordan Hess.
“Games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage,” Lenz said. “Praise to those guys up front for digging in the trenches for our power game. We bank on them a ton.”
Sugar-Salem in a new role
It’s been a while – 12 games to be exact – since the Diggers found themselves having to rebound after a loss.
Last week’s 24-7 loss at Star Valley, Wyo., in a battle of defending state champions didn’t hurt Sugar-Salem’s chances of challenging for another state title, but it may have provided some extra motivation for the remainder of the season.
“We realize the way we played last week was not us,” coach Tyler Richins said. “It was very uncharacteristic about what we’re about.”
Richins noted the team “just got out of our comfort zone,” and five turnovers didn’t help.
“(This week) we really focused a lot on ourselves and took us back a step and said ‘what do we have to do to get better’ and give the kids an opportunity to reflect … it’s good to know we’re not untouchable.”
Ririe showing off its depth
The Bulldogs are off to a 3-0 start and taking advantage of their depth.
“We’re lucky enough to rotate people in and out,” coach Jim Newton said, adding the advantage typically shows up in the fourth quarter.
After beating the Star Valley JV in the season opener, Ririe has had relatively close games with Malad and Soda Springs. Friday the Bulldogs face a West Side team that was knocked off the top spot in the 2A state rankings this week by North Fremont.
Depth will be important, but the outcome could hinge on how well the Ririe defense can contain the Pirates’ running game. Newton said he expects to see a lot of movement, triple option and a mobile quarterback.
“That offense requires you to be very fundamentally sound,” he said. “You have to be very disciplined.”