Successful year sign of a turning point for program as Sandy marches to the post-season.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Sandys Leithan Thompson, left, starts to celebrate the Pioneers 14-7 win over Barlow on Sept. 17.Sandy High School's football team has finished one of it's most successful seasons in school history and is heading into the playoffs with expectations to be a problem for opposing teams.

Pioneer's head coach Josh Dill credits the season's success to his players' selflessness and cooperative mindset. Dill said in the beginning of the year he recognized he had a young team, but with the limited play last year due to COVID-19, the group was still unproven.

"With Reynolds having to cancel for our first game, that was really tough because we knew that we were ready," Dill said.

The Pioneers would come back the following week to beat Centennial handedly 45-14.

Sandy was able to put up such numbers with its high scoring offense. "We have very tough and physical kids," Dill said. "I wanted to make this offense a team of misdirection and really spread the ball around."

With the Pioneers firing on all cylinders, Dill said that it was really the team's early victory over Sam-Barlow that changed the trajectory of the team. "That win over Barlow was unreal. For a long time they were like the older brother and being able to beat them felt like we saw where this team could really go," Dill said.

When thinking of the players he felt made the most impact, Dill believes you don't have to look much further than the four captains.

Quarterback Teague Clemmer has been a threat both in the passing and the running game on the Pioneers offense Dill said.

"He is very selfless, always stays calm and has been a real threat when he breaks out of the pocket," Dill said.

The coach also mentioned seniors Ethan Lucore, Robert Burns and Ashton Turin as key leaders throughout the season.

"It is honestly really hard to single out one just one guy because it is such a team oriented group of guys," Dill said. "We have this mentality that you might be able to shut one of us down, but you won't be able to shut us all down."

Sandy will need that team effort as they take on Sherwood in a playoff game on Friday, Nov. 5.

"They are a good team and have won five in a row," Dill said. "They do well in the run game and that will be an exciting match up against our guys who have been good at shutting down the run."

If the team wins, it would be only the third Sandy team to win a playoff game, which has been a motivating factor for these Pioneers since the beginning of the season.

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