Pirates ready to tackle 2018 seasonSep 13, 2018 11:12AM ● By Jana Klopsch
The Cyprus football team spent plenty of time in the classroom this off season in preparation for the season. (Cyprus football)
By Greg James | [email protected]
When the Cyprus Pirates take the field for the 2018 season they will be trying to qualify for the state playoffs for the second year in a row and for the third time in four years.
Friday, Aug. 17 against Murray (home game). Murray struggled to a 2-7 record last season. They did not qualify for the state playoffs. Several of the teams losses were by more that 30 points. The Pirates trail in the overall series by 10 wins 21-11. They last played in 2016 and Murray defeated Cyprus 54-7.
Friday, Aug. 24 against West (at West). West finished last season 3-7, but did not win one game of its five Region 6 contests. The Panthers return three offensive and five defensive starters. West defeated Cyprus last season 33-21. West has defeated the Pirates 17 out of 24 times since 1970.
Friday, Aug. 31 against Copper Hills (at Copper Hills). In 2017, the Pirates scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter last season and came away with a 48-26 victory. Grizzly head coach Corey Dodds has developed an offensive line to go with experience at the skill positions. The Pirates have defeated the Grizzlies three times in their four meetings.
Friday, Sept. 7 against Spanish Fork (home game). Spanish Fork finished last season with a 6-4 record and lost in the first round of the 4A state playoffs to Ridgeline 25-22. They return 13 starters, most of them are seniors.
Friday, Sept. 14 against Hunter (home game). The Pirates’ first region contest comes against its crosstown rival. The Wolverines have a new head coach this season. They broke all-time school passing records last season. The Pirates lost last year 42-21. The Pirates have only defeated Hunter four times in the school’s history.
Friday, Sept. 21 against Kearns (at Kearns). The Cougars captured the Region 2 championship last season. Many of their top skill players graduated last spring. Kearns beat the Pirates 41-27 last season.
Friday, Sept. 28 against Hillcrest (at Hillcrest). Hillcrest won only one game all of last year, a 42-23 victory over Cottonwood. Hillcrest’s strengths are its running backs and wide receivers. They allowed 40.5 points per game last season. Cyprus is 6-7 overall against the Huskies.
Friday, Oct. 5 against Granger (home game). Granger and Cyprus have played each other 35 times since 1970, the most games of any Pirates’ opponent. The Lancers lead the series with 20 wins. Last season Granger walked away with a 35-27 victory. The Lancers use a wing-t offense that is different than many of the opponents the Pirates will see this season. Granger only throws the ball on 10 percent of its plays from scrimmage.
Friday, Oct. 12 against 18 Westlake (at Westlake). The Pirates close out the regular season in a non-region contest against the Thunder.
Players to watch
The Pirates quarterback, junior Parker Meldrum, returns this season. He threw for 2,054 yards last year and 17 touchdowns. The top rusher returning is junior Albert Taufi. He only carried the ball 83 times last season.
The Pirate defense returns its top four tacklers from last season. All four seniors received valuable experience last season: Alex Lanktree, Peti Aiolupotea, Jayden Christensen and Vae Gasu.