AMERICAN FORK — American Fork finished the 2020 season with an 8-4 overall record, but only finished fourth in a stacked Region 4 with a 2-3 record. It isn't because the Cavemen lacked talent, but rather they've been unlucky enough to be placed in a highly competitive region.
This season, the Cavemen return a majority of their starting lineup and top contributors from a season ago. With the amount of experience coming back, the Cavemen earned themselves the No. 2 spot in KSL.com High School Football Top 20+1 preseason rankings and have high expectations going into the season.
One notable player returning for American Fork is senior quarterback Maddux Madsen, who recently committed to play at Boise State. As a starter and First-Team All-State recipient last season, Madsen assisted in leading one of the most electric offenses in 6A (second at 41.9 points per game). He threw for 48 touchdowns and 4,044 yards, both second to the 2020-21 Gatorade National Player of the Year Jaxson Dart.
Madsen will receive help from three of his primary targets from the 2020 season: seniors Fisher Ingersol, Noah Moeaki and junior Trey Roberts. That trio combined for 33 total touchdowns and 2,323 receiving yards last season; Ingersol also led the state in receiving touchdowns (19). One target the Cavemen will be missing is tight end Garrison Grimes, who recorded 626 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.
Last year, the Cavemen struggled to make defensive stops and gave up 25.4 points per game (18th in 6A). Ingersol and Moeaki, a BYU commit, will see action on both sides of the ball as they hope to solidify American Fork as a defensive threat. They are effective two-way players who have the ability to be playmakers on offense and are respected assets on defense.
But American Fork lost valuable players on defense, including Sam Hafen, Gabe Shipely and Zach Schetselaar. They'll look to Moeaki, Ingersol and senior Dallin Kartchner for its defensive leadership. The three accounted for 148 tackles last season, and Ingersol led the team with six interceptions and the state in defensive touchdowns (four).
Senior Cashe Abo will also return for American Fork, giving the Cavemen rich experience at the running back position after accounting for 358 of the team's rushing yards.
The Cavemen also welcome UCLA commit and senior tight end Carsen Ryan, the state's No. 8 recruit, who played at Timpview for three seasons prior to coming to American Fork. During his junior season at Timpview, Ryan led the Thunderbirds to a 3-0 region record with a team-high 609 receiving yards.
The Cavemen could surprise people this season and upset its Region 4 opponents with all the offensive firepower returning.
American Fork will begin their season in a nonregion matchup against Granger Friday in a 7 p.m. kickoff at American Fork.