Cedar Reds look to improve on both sides of the ball – St George News

CEDAR TOWN — With a mix of familiar and new faces, the Cedar High School football team is looking to be more competitive this season.

Cedar High School football players hold a practice scrimmage, Cedar City, Utah, August 5, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Speaking to St. George News/Cedar City News after an early morning scrimmage on Friday, Josh Bennett, who is now entering his eighth year as head coach, said he has high expectations for the team. of this year.

The Reds went 2-8 last year, with both wins over Canyon View and Hurricane. Although the Reds suffered a handful of blowouts, two of their defeats were by one point apiece, including a 34-33 home loss on October 8 at the hands of eventual Region 10 champions Desert Hills. .

“I think we’re firing nine or 10 guys on both sides of the ball, who either started last year or played quite a bit of time,” Bennett said. “We have some depth in some areas, while in others we are not as deep. But overall we have a good group of kids. Our senior class has good leadership, which always makes the difference.

Returning as the starting quarterback is junior southpaw Koden Lunt, who threw for over 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, in addition to rushing for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He’s expected to be a double threat again, thanks to a strong offensive line that includes returning starters Bryson Bennett, Matthew Villa-Rowe, Xander Weaver and Trent Durbin.

Among Lunt’s likely passing targets are returning receivers Conner Hardman, a senior, and juniors Ammon York and TreDyn Elliot.

“He was a defensive starter last year, but he’ll play more on the offensive side of the ball this year,” Bennett said of Elliot.

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York and Elliot should both play cornerbacks in defense, added Bennett, along with senior Damien McGarvey, who missed late last season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Meanwhile, senior Bryson Bennett, the coach’s son, will provide support as a defensive linebacker, while fellow senior Villa-Rowe will serve as a dual lineman on both sides of the ball.

Cedar High School football players hold a practice scrimmage, Cedar City, Utah, August 5, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“Defensively we have a lot of guys coming back,” Coach Bennett said. “It’s just about staying healthy, progressing and improving throughout the year.”

Special teams will also get more attention this year, Bennett said.

“We have great comebacks like Devin Crenshaw and TreDyn Elliot,” he said.

“We also have two very good kickers,” Bennett said, adding that senior Edgar Hernandez-Hinojosa will handle both PAT punts and kicks, while fellow senior Parker Kucifer will kick the field goals. .

“I think you’ll get some good things out of it,” Bennett said.

Bennett said his program takes pride in the fact that nearly all of his players have been in the program since they were freshmen.

“We play with our kids who have been here with us for four years, and we do it the right way,” he said. “These guys have really improved and put themselves in a good position to have a great year.”

Bennett’s coaching staff includes several new members, including offensive coordinator Sam Elliot, offensive line coach Noah Taeatafa, special teams coordinator Tyler Monks, secondary coach Nate Porter and line coach defensive Jason Linnell.

Cedar will host Spanish Fork in their season opener on Friday, August 12. It will be the first of five consecutive home games for the Reds, who will then play three of their last four games on the road.

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We have a busy schedule, but we’re looking forward to it“, Bennett said. “Hopefully we can enjoy being at home this year. We always felt like a good home football team.

Cedar’s second game is on August 19 against Juab Wasps, who beat the Reds 29-28 at Juab last year in the last match. The Reds’ third game is on August 26 against Crosstown rivals Canyon View.

The following week, on September 2, the Region 10 schedule will begin, with Cedar hosting Snow Canyon.

Cedar’s only three road games this season will be Sept. 16 at Pine View, Oct. 7 at Desert Hills and Oct. 12 at Crimson Cliffs.

“We look forward to a fun-filled year with an amazing group of kids,” added Bennett. “We are lucky to be able to work with them.”

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