Hillcrest Begins Region Gridiron ActionOct 08, 2015 01:25PM ● By Bryan Scott
By Ron Bevan
After a grueling quartet of preseason games it is now up to Hillcrest Husky football team to make some noise in Region 6 action.
Hillcrest carries a 1-3 record into region play. Although the opening of the preseason wasn’t spectacular with three straight losses, it wasn’t about the wins for Head Coach Travis Mehlhoff.
“We purposely put together some tough opponents for the preseason,” Mehlhoff said. “We wanted to play the best teams in preseason so we could be ready for region play. We are hoping this is the year we have an opportunity for additional postseason play.”
Hillcrest reached the 5A postseason last year as the fourth place team in Region 2. The Huskies lost to American Fork in the opening round of last year’s tournament.
But the experience gained from last season combined with a move down to 4A gives Mehlhoff hope for a stronger postseason appearance this year.
“The competition is still just as strong in 4A,” he said. “We can’t look at anyone and say we used to play tougher schools so this will be easier, because it isn’t. That’s why we have such a strong preseason.”
Scheduling a tough preseason can have its disadvantages as well.
“These kids are athletes who want to win and care about winning,” Mehlhoff said. “So sometimes when you go after tough preseason opponents, even though you may be expecting a loss, it still doesn’t sit well with the players. Nobody likes to lose. You have to balance the experience they gain with the emotions they are feeling in hopes of being ready for region.”
But the Huskies overcame all that with a big 44-24 win over Timpanogos in their final preseason game Sept. 11. Hillcrest scored in all four quarters to gain the win, and bolstering up the confidence of a team now ready for region play.
Now Hillcrest needs to capitalize on the win and carry it through region play. With teams like Murray, Kearns and Skyline in the region, Mehlhoff knows his players need to be ready to play weekly.
“Kearns is undefeated this season, and Skyline has always been a hotbed for football,” Mehlhoff said.
The Huskies are being led on the offense by senior quarterback Gavin Herd, who took over the reins from two-year starter Tanner Thompson. Herd has already excited the Husky faithful with a two pronged scoring and passing attack that nearly derailed Alta. He stayed mostly on the ground to defeat Timpanogos, scoring one rushing touchdown and handing the ball off for five more. Herd also handles the point after kicks for the Huskies.
“Herd has a great football IQ,” Mehlhoff said. “He manages the line of scrimmage very well.”
Herd looks to three-year starter Dalton Dallimore and versatile athlete Booker McGuire when Hillcrest goes to the running game.
“Dallimore has the most experience on our team and he uses it well,” Mehlhoff said. “McGuire is a big, fast athlete who is great for our running game. But he also plays both sides of the ball, going in as linebacker on defense because of his size and ability.”