PHS Football Preview 2012

By Spencer Durrant Photo by Daniela Garcia
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By Spencer Durrant

      Springtime isn’t a time to clean out the house and the yard – it’s a time for football. Spring practices for college teams are happening, and the NFL draft provided plenty of excitement, even though the NFL season doesn’t start until August.

     Here in Payson, the Lions Football team is getting ready for next season, holding practices every Tuesday. Last season, the Lions went 3-7. The highlight of the season was the nail-biting win against archrival Salem Hills High School, a game where junior quarterback Devan Judd threw for 483 yards and 5 touchdowns. His performance was notable enough to get the Lion’s win mentioned on Sports Beat Sunday that weekend.

     The Lions are looking to make big strides next season, but head coach Jeremy Chapman says he’s most excited to see how much his players can improve.

      “I’m excited to see the fruits of their labors,” Chapman said.

        The Lions were a young team last season, but most of the improvements fans will see on the field are going to be a result of the maturity and growth of the players.

        “There’s going to be more balance, a natural transition into a balanced offense,” said Chapman.

         To go with a more balanced offense, the Lion’s are going to be sporting a revamped defense, headed by Coach Clint Peery.

         “Defensively, we’re looking to stop the run, lock down receivers in the passing lanes, be more aggressive, and knock some people’s heads off this year,” said junior linebacker Jacob Buckner.

         With all the adjustments and improvements, the Lions are looking to have a very productive season.

          Two players that could add to the productivity are junior quarterback Devan Judd and junior linebacker Jacob Buckner.

          Judd played last season in a very pass-oriented offense, throwing the ball the majority of the time. The run game was virtually non-existent. In the game against Salem Hills, Judd attempted 48 passes. Compare that to the average 29 pass attempts by the top 120 FBS college football teams, and the Lions offense looks very unbalanced. But the Lions are committed to bringing a more balanced attack to the table, and you can look for Judd to be the leader of the new – look attack.

       On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Jacob Buckner will be seeing his first high school football action in over a year.

        “Words can’t even describe how excited I am. Not playing last year made my hunger and drive for football even greater,” said Buckner.

        “I’m going to make a lot of plays, and encourage a lot of people to make plays, and be technically sound. Those are my goals,” Buckner said.

        Hopefully his infectious attitude will rub off on his other defensive teammates and inspire great play from the Lions in their 2012 campaign. They’ll continue to practice hard over the summer and will be ready to take the field in September.