Prep football: Roy Royals preview

It was a bitter end to what started as a sweet season for Roy coach Fred Fernandez and the Royals last year.

After starting 6-1 with home wins over Jordan and rival Fremont, Roy sputtered into the playoffs and swiftly was knocked out in the Class 5A first round.

“We didn’t finish very strong,” Fernandez said. “We got beat up at Northridge, we were able to beat Weber in overtime but then got beat by a four-seed, albeit a really good four-seed in American Fork. We just want to get back out on the field and get that bad taste out of our mouths.”

Now with some key holes to fill in the offensive backfield and all over the defense, Fernandez is going to have to rely on some underclassmen to get the Royals back into the playoffs in the newly organized Region 5.

“We feel pretty good about some of our skill positions, but we’re going to be young across the defense,” he said. “I’m excited to see how some of these young guys turn out and some of them are going to be pressed into action early.”

ROY ROYALS <br>Coach • Fred Fernandez, seventh year <br>Last season • 7-3, 5-1 in Region 1; Lost to American Fork in Class 5A playoff opener <br>State championships • 1981 <br>Other state title game appearances • 1980, 2014 <br>2017 SCHEDULE <br>Aug. 18 • Syracuse, 7 p.m. <br>Aug. 25 • Weber, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 1 • at Skyridge, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 8 • at Bonneville, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 15 • Woods Cross, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 22 • at Bountiful, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 29 • Viewmont, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 6 • at Box Elder, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 18 • at Layton, 7 p.m.

Behind center • Seniors Trace Tupe and Jax Weaver will be the workhorses in the backfield, and they’re interchangeable at fullback and halfback, according to their coach. “That’s going to be our strength,” Fernandez said. “We’re going to feed those guys, and they’ve got to touch the ball double-digit times per game.” Junior Bronson LePelley also will be making appearances both in the backfield and out wide because of his wide skill set on offense.

Ball hawks • Juniors Josh Gallegos and Kyrese Rowan saw a lot of varsity time going both ways as sophomores last year, and their athleticism makes them indispensable on both sides of the ball. They’ll both be relied upon to make plays out wide, with fellow juniors Dionte Davis, Cole Neal and Cameron Stimpson expected to contribute at receiver and a little bit in the defensive backfield.

In the trenches • While the offensive line has lost a lot of the size that it has enjoyed in years past, it’s been filled with speed and athleticism. Juniors Dalton Slone and Payton Smith return to the front five after starting as sophomores last season, and 6-foot-2, 325-pound senior Mercy Matautia will be getting back onto the field after missing last season to injury. Without a lot of returning talent on the defensive front, juniors Justin Lacefield, Garrett Ransom, Isaiah Huber and others will have to fill the voids.

Hit men • There will be a youth movement all over the defense, according to Fernandez. The one-two punch of Tupe and Weaver also will be on display on the defensive side with both filling outside linebacker spots. Senior Carson Cooper and junior Levi Conley are having a battle for the starting spot at inside linebacker, while Gallegos, Rowan and others cycle through in the defensive backfield.

Key returners • Trace Tupe, Sr. (LB/FB); Josh Gallegos, Jr. (LB/WR); Jax Weaver, Sr. (LB/RB)

Key losses • Jaden Sabin, QB (1,444 yards, 13 TD); Hunter Mather, RB (744 yards, 8 TD rushing; 355 yards, 2 TD receiving); Angel Arvizo, WR/DB (363 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT); Chase Storey, LB (76 tackles, 5 sacks), Wynton Lamar, DE (43 tackles, 7 sacks)

The next wave • Cole Hammon, Soph. (ATH); Mcquade Andrade, Soph. (ATH) Cade Harris, Fr. (ATH)

from The Salt Lake Tribune


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