ST. GEORGE — Going into its third season in existence, the Crimson Cliffs High School football team is hoping to take a big step forward in its opening game Friday night.
Mustangs head coach Jaron Tate, after practice Tuesday night at the high school, told St. George News that the football program is really starting to build momentum.
“We have a senior class of 35 players, and that hasn’t been the case the past two years,” Tate said. “It makes a difference having that many older kids. Having that senior leadership and that experience will hopefully come in to help us out.”
Tate said the team has really started to come together over the past couple weeks in training camp.
“Practice has gone good,” Tate said. “We’ve got a solid group and good numbers, and we’ve consistently gotten better and better every day. We fought off some injuries early on in camp, but I think we’re stable, we’re healthy and we’re ready to go on Friday.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Mustangs expect quarterback Chase Hansen to have a strong season.
“We’re really going to look to Chase to lead us,” Tate said. “He’s been quarterback for us for three years now, and so we’ll really look to him to make plays and to direct us and guide us out there.”
He said Hansen will have a solid core of running backs to hand the ball and pass to.
“We have Easton Droubay, Nick Baum and other guys that are there to help us out,” Tate said. “We look to run the ball and to control the ball and to make sure that we’re taking care of the ball on every possession.”
Defensively, the Mustangs will rely on the foundation of their line the past two seasons, senior Fasito’otai Salanoa-Sagapolu, known to his teammates and coaches as Marley.
“Marley’s really been our anchor,” Tate said. “He knows the defense, and he’s a leader, and he just does the things he’s supposed to do. This year he’s kind of taking a more vocal role to make sure everyone around him is doing what they’re supposed to do as well.”
Also on defense, Tate said the Mustangs will look for leadership from middle linebacker Jackson Griffiths and safety Corbin Cuff.
With local 4A teams realigned into Region 10, Tate said familiarity with their opponents will help the Mustangs prepare for the season.
“After playing a lot of those region teams this summer, we’ve seen that there’s a lot of even teams and it’s going to be competitive throughout the region,” Tate said. “Until somebody knocks off Pine View, it will be Pine View on top. We’ll look forward to each and every week.”
First up is Friday’s road game at Green Canyon, a 4A Region 11 team in North Logan, Utah.
“We’re excited to be able to go on the road and show the kids what it’s going to take to travel up there, because more than likely we’re going to have to do it in the playoffs,” Tate said.
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