BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
KAYSVILLE – Colton Chronister, Parker Rose, Matt Morrell and Kawika Tupuola are familiar names to fans of the Davis Darts football team.
However, they are just four among several key players who will return to the Darts roster for the 2013 season.
Ryan Bishop, now entering his thirteenth season as head coach at Davis, emphasized that while those players will help the team, it’s up to the coaching staff to lead them to success.
“Some years you get eight to 10 guys returning, and some years you only have four to five,” said Bishop. “Our job as a coaching staff is to develop those players, and we are getting a chance to do a better job developing our players.”
One position they won’t have to worry about is quarterback. Reserved for the leader and best athlete, said Bishop, Chronister will replace the graduated Gage Cook, who accounted for 33 touchdowns and more than 2,200 yards of offense for the Darts.
Chronister has been with the Darts since his freshman year, and even though he didn’t see a start or much playing time at the position, he will serve as a cog to the team’s success.
“When you try to structure the team, you want to put each player in the best position possible,” said Bishop. “That’s how we think as a staff, and he’s a leader that will help us win in that position.”
Rose, who was second on the team in rushing last season, also returns to the field and will likely remain at the running back position.
The team will start off without 2012 star Abel Porter, who encountered medical issues over the summer. A senior this year, he spent much of last year as a receiver.
“He’s a very good athlete and a nice player to have,” Bishop said. “He’s really working hard to get back on the field as soon as he can.”
Meanwhile, Morrell and Tupuola will be key to the defense. Morrell finished with 70 tackles and three interceptions in the secondary, and Tupuola led the team with 7.5 sacks last season as part of the defensive line.
Linebacker Davis Hanson, who collected 77 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2012, will serve as a key piece of the linebacking corps as well.
The team will enter the season by “getting better every day” and will make sure individual success happens on a day-to-day basis.
“We don’t like to talk about long-term goals,” he said. “If you do, a lot of times you get caught up not looking at the day-to-day success of the team. We just want to give ourselves the best opportunity to compete in Region 1.”
Bishop added that he felt “really good” about having Viewmont, the school’s main rival, back in the region. He prefers to compete in a bigger region.
“Our region is so familiar with each other that you almost play a rivalry game every week,” he said. “We’ve known that Viewmont has wanted to come back to Region 1, and it gives everyone the opportunity to play a strong schedule.”
The Darts finished 7-5 in 2012, and were 2-3 in Region 1. They lost to Lone Peak in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Darts 2013 schedule
8-23 @ Copper Hills
9-12 @ Syracuse
9-20 @ Fremont
10-10 @ Northridge