LAYTON — Last year was historically bad for the Layton Lancers.
It was their second winless season since 1970, the worst defensive team since at least 1970 and the worst offensive team since 1981.
But there’s only one thing to do after a winless season.
“We gotta get over last year and say this is now, and look to the future and focus on the game that week — not the game next week or the game previous, but that game that week,” senior tight end/defensive end Jon Hunt said.
Layton had a young team last year, which was part of the reason for an 0-10 campaign and weekly struggles. Though in fairness, part of the weekly struggles were due to plethora of a tough teams in Region 1.
There’s a little bit of optimism around the Lancers right now, as there is every year. But some of that is due to a new head coach, Tyler Gladwell.
Gladwell started the 2017 school year working at the Davis School District office, but when longtime football head coach Jim Batchelor resigned to take a job as a vice principal in late November, Layton High hired Gladwell as the head football coach.
The school slotted him into Batchelor’s teaching position in December 2017 because Batchelor was immediately needed there.
So Gladwell had more than half of a school year to become familiar with the students and players, which he says mitigated the learning curve of having new coaches. That gave him time to get the players accustomed to what he and the rest of the coaching staff expect.
“Hopefully when times are good, we’re good as a team and when times are hard, we’re still working hard and being good as a team,” Gladwell said. “Those are things that we’re trying to establish right now — and then I think the football stuff will come, the scheme, the X’s and O’s, the plays.”
A healthy number of positions were up for grabs throughout summer and fall practice sessions, so aside from Hunt and senior linebacker Alec Bolingbroke, it’s a little unknown who will line up on offense and defense in the first game.
But a fair amount of last year’s young team is back with a little extra motivation to not be the Region 1 punching bag. So there’s some experience, talent and a chance, if all goes right, to be in the playoff discussion when the leaves turn.
“If we have confidence on the field and we play like we belong and we know what we’re doing, I think we’ll be good,” Bolingbroke said.
Gladwell was the Davis head coach from 2014-16, where he amassed a 23-8 record with a region championship and an unbeaten regular season in 2015.
Upon hearing Gladwell’s Davis record, both Hunt and Bolingbroke’s eyes widened and Bolingbroke said that made him even more excited about the upcoming year.
Gladwell, along with defensive coordinator Cameron Pribble, defensive coach Jim Wilson and practically most of the coaching staff.
Key stretch: The Lancers’ first two region games are at rival Davis and at Fremont in back-to-back weeks. If Layton wins at least one of those, that’s going to be a huge boost for the Lancers.
Only one way to go: Layton’s scoring offense (7.6 points per game) and scoring defense (34 points per game) were by far the worst marks in Region 1, with the scoring average being the worst in 6A.