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Skyridge football looks competitive as they kick off the 2023 season

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In the first year with Justin Hemm as head football coach, a newly aligned Region 3 and new faces on the field, the Falcons are looking confident in their quest for a repeat of a 6A state championship.

The Skyridge football team scrimmaged during the Orange and White game on Friday, August 4, and demonstrated great technique during the showcase.

The Falcons are led by Davis transfer Jackson Stevens at quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 220-lb. senior with a big arm will direct the Skyridge spread offense.

The receiving group is led by seniors Trent Call (6-3, 190) and Jack Burke (6-2, 188). The offensive line was focused and appears equipped to manage the challenge of protecting the quarterback.

Standout senior running back Carter Sheffield (6-0, 210) easily scored on a screen pass and kept the team energized during the Orange and White game.

Hemm said, “We have some spread aspects to the offense. We like to be balanced on the field.”

He added, “There is a lot of talent up front this year. We like to be versatile with different looks. We have adapted new plays for this season.”

The defensive line was stingy during the scrimmage and looks to repeat their dominance from the year before. Senior defensive lineman Ian Mariner (6-0, 292) gave a flawless performance and other defensive players also looked confident in their positions.

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The Falcon team captains showed leadership during the scrimmage with their skill and positivity.

Senior wide receiver La’Alea Kalama (5-11, 199), Sheffield, junior offensive lineman Ben Howard (6-4, 303), senior linebacker Tobin Smith (6-1, 172), senior linebacker Jackson Fenton (5-10, 196) and Mariner are the Falcon team captains selected this year by the players.

Hemm said, “The strengths of the team are the veteran players of the offensive and defensive lines. They will be good anchors for us this season.

“The skill guys have new faces this year, but they have paid their dues and it’s their opportunity to perform big on Friday nights,” the coach added.

The Falcons looked well prepared. They had good rhythm and did a great job getting the ball where it was supposed to go.

“Summer practices have been productive as the team has put forth a great effort,” Hemm said. “The boys are learning new things this season. There are mistakes but we will improve with each one that is made.

“There are some great things happening as a team and the players are ready to get back at it and on the field. We have worked hard to be ready,” he said.

Both the offense and the defense managed the plays and executed well throughout the scrimmage.

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Hemm said, “Thus far the defense and the offense have been equal at practice. One day will be good for the offense and then another day good for the defense. They were balanced tonight.

“We try to compete at practice offensively and defensively. The players are very aware of what they need to do to win,” he added.

Hemm expects his team to be competitive this year in the state’s toughest 6A region. He believes the team’s preparation and work ethic will lead them to a successful season.

The Falcons will be ready for their first game on Friday (Aug.11) as they take on the Timpview Thunderbirds at home at 7 p.m.

“We expect a talented opponent for the first game of the season,” Hemm said. “We know for week one we need to be ready. It will be a hard-fought battle and we expect nothing less than a challenging game with Timpview.

“We are excited for the opportunity to have a strong opponent for the first game and for an exciting season,” the coach concluded.

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