Layton Christian football preview: Heartbreak, experience fuel Eagles in 2017

Thursday , August 10, 2017 - 12:00 AM

RYAN COMER, Standard-Examiner Staff

LAYTON — Milford 34, Layton Christian 33.

That’s the lasting memory from the 2016 season for those on the Layton Christian Academy football team.

Layton Christian and Milford were battling in the first round of the 1-A playoffs. The Eagles scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter — the latter coming with no time on the clock — to pull within a point.

Layton Christian coach Dru Jones considered going for two but ultimately elected to attempt the extra point.

No good. Game over. Season over.

Read more football previews for Northern Utah schools

“While they’re running, they’ll say 33-34, 33-34,” Jones said of his group now more than nine months removed from the heartbreak.

The motivation from that heartbreaking loss — as well as a plethora of returning linemen, key returners at skill positions and a freshman quarterback — has Jones thinking this year could be better.

This year, Jones believes the team could be one of the final four standing at the end of the season.

“We feel pretty good going into this season,” he said.

The biggest reason for Jones’ confidence is his team’s experience in the trenches. Caleb Kensinger, Anthony Harding and Cal Allen all return on the offensive line. Those three, along with Parker Sewell, will also play on the defensive line.

Not only are the linemen experienced, they’re big, Jones said.

“We’re bigger than most schools,” he said.

Dustin Moffo returns at running back and Ryleigh McCombs returns at slot back. The Eagles lose wide receiver standout Pedro Silva — who caught the touchdown pass that pulled Layton Christian within a point of Milford — but Jones likes the potential of 6-foot-3 Malcolm Smauldon and sophomore Ulric Sutton.

On defense, Moffo and McCombs are both linebackers while Smauldon is a safety and Sutton is a cornerback.

Jaice Holt takes over at quarterback. Holt is the son of Doyle Holt, Layton Christian’s head coach for three years before Jones. Doyle Holt has joined Jones’ staff this season as the running backs coach.

Jones said Jaice Holt, who also plays cornerback, is “hard to rattle.”

“I don’t think the varsity field is too shocking for him,” Jones said.

The missed extra point against Milford was part of a season-long problem with special teams, Jones said. This year, Alessio Tufano — part of the school’s state champion boys soccer team last year — will be responsible for kicking extra points.

“Learned it from Coach (Russ) Jones,” Dru Jones said, referencing his veteran coaching mentor at Syracuse High turning soccer star Josh Kealamakia into a football kicker, one who went on to kick at Weber State.


(*1-A North region game)

Friday, Aug. 18: North Summit, 4 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 25: at American Leadership, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 1: Milford, 4 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 8: at Parowan, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 16: vs. San Lorenzo Valley-California (at Mission Viejo High School), 10 a.m.

Friday, Sept. 22: Kanab, 4 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 29: Monticello, 4 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 6: Altamont*, 4 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 13: at Rich*, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 18: at Duchesne*, 7 p.m.


Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

Get the Standard-Examiner Advantage.