LEAD PRINT MH 072318 Kaio Sauni 01_1

Woods Cross football player Kaio Sauni poses for a portrait Monday, July 23, 2018 at Woods Cross High School.

WOODS CROSS — Andrew Fresques looks around at the Woods Cross football team as he prepares for his second year as head coach.

He’s excited, and there’s plenty of reason to be. The Wildcats won seven games last year, upset Timpview in the first round of the playoffs on the road, and much of the team’s offense returns this year.

“I have high expectations for these guys and I know they’re more than capable of accomplishing those things,” Fresques said.

The ‘high expectations’ refers to at least a semifinal berth in the playoffs and a trip to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Fresques isn’t worried so much about the Wildcats and their talent, which he says there is a lot of, but making sure they play to their full potential.

“We have a lot of belief in ourselves and we know we can go as far as we’ll take us, our biggest opponent, we really believe, is ourselves,” he said.

But how does a team go from a quarterfinal appearance to a semifinal berth at the University of Utah?

“It starts out with little things ... because the little things make big things happen,” senior cornerback Kaio Sauni said.

Even in mid-July, their practices were running smoothly on offense. The team was already far along in the playbook after learning a new offense last season, Fresques’ first in charge of the Wildcats.

Carston Naegle returns as quarterback after starting the final four games last season. He completed 68.7 percent of his passes in those games.

“So you really can’t get much more pressure placed upon you than that: going into a playoff game where we haven’t beat Timpview (the last four times) and they haven’t lost on their home field in the playoffs in awhile,” said Naegle, who threw three touchdowns in the game.

Among the more enticing matchups on the schedule this season, excluding the clash with bitter rival Bountiful, is against Farmington on Sept. 21.

Fresques graduated from Northridge High a year before Farmington head coach Daniel Coats and they both played on the 2001 state championship team under Fred Fernandes, now Roy’s head coach.

WORTH NOTING

Key stretch: The Wildcats play Bountiful and Viewmont, their local rivals, back-to-back in late September and early October.

Kings of the 5?: Of the Region 5 playoff teams, Woods Cross was the only one to win a playoff game last year when the Wildcats upset Timpview on the road.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @patrickcarr_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/patrickcarr17/.

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