Kirk Chambers faced a rare challenge as the first-year coach of Spanish Fork in 2012.
Chambers was not tasked with taking over a perennial loser like many new coaches, but rather with taking over a successful program that had reached the semifinals of the state playoffs the year before his arrival. Chambers did one better in his first season, taking the team to the Class 3A state championship, where it lost to Dixie.
"I inherited a very strong program," Chambers said. "I saw what was working here, and I kept it as the core principles of what we're trying to do. Then I added whatever and wherever I could."
One thing that Chambers added in 2012 was a sophomore starting quarterback, Jason Money, who helped lead the Dons to a 12-2 record.
With a year of experience to lean on, the junior quarterback and the second-year coach will help lead Spanish Fork to an entirely different challenge: the jump to 4A.
"In preseason games, we've always played 4A and 5A teams, and we've competed well against them," Chambers said. "We know we can compete."
While the transition may not be easy, there is reason to believe the Dons will be successful. Besides Money, Spanish Fork brings back multiple juniors who saw action during their sophomore seasons. The Dons are small but talented along the interior, and they have the edge of knowing what it takes to get to the state championship game.
Spanish Fork Dons
ASSIGNMENT • Region 8
LAST YEAR • 12-2 overall, 5-0 Region 12
KEY RETURNER • Jason Money, jr., QB. Money passed for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 500 yards in leading his team to the state championship game as a sophomore.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Taylor Noles, jr., RB. Noles had limited carries as a sophomore backup to star senior Braxton Argyle, but with Argyle gone, Noles will have the chance to be the man.
BIGGEST HOLE • Coach Chambers doesn't yet know who will be starting for him in the secondary and doesn't have players with a lot of experience in the defensive backfield.
NEED TO KNOW • Chambers believes that against tougher competition in 4A, the Dons will need to battle for every game, something they didn't always have to do in 3A blowout victories.