West Valley schools set to start football seasonAug 11, 2021 12:43PM ● By Greg James
Sophomore Brandon Diaz is learning blocking schemes to help protect the ball for the Lancers offense. (Photo courtesy of Granger football)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Football season is approaching quickly and Hunter, Granger and Cyprus high schools are getting ready to defend their home turf.
The Lancers started last season with two convincing wins over Syracuse (28-24) and Clearfield (40-21). The season fizzled after a COVID-19 school and team outbreak. They were forced to forfeit against Kearns and could never rebound.
Junior Dionnzy Fue completed 60 passes and over 580 yards. He also ran for three touchdowns. Only two seasons ago they threw the ball twice per game. The players have made marked improvement in a style of play they had no experience with.
“Our program is night and day different from where we were,” Lancer head coach Pala Vaitu’u said after last season.
The Lancers scored 14.9 points per game while only allowing 21. They finished the season 3-7 and lost to Bingham in the first round of the state tournament 33-3.
Hunter football has made the state playoffs in every year the school has been open except its first. The UHSAA has now made every team a postseason participant, but it shows the history of the program.
The Wolverines finished last season with a 4-6 record. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to Westlake 35-23. They trailed the entire game, but made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.
Last season nine players carried the ball more than five times. Koni Tahi amassed 289 yards and had 2 touchdowns.
The Wolverines will need to replace graduated quarterback Josh Harding. He threw for over 1,700 yards and had 13 touchdowns.
Hunter defeated both of its West Valley rivals last season: Granger 28-8 and Cyprus 41-7. They took home the imaginary trophy in the “Battle of the Vill” as the teams have begun to call it.
Cyprus was one of the first schools to have a game postponed because of COVID-19. Their second game of the season last year against Ridgeline was canceled because two Pirates tested positive for the virus.
“The coach and administration did everything right,” Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said after the cancellation.
The team had six players opt-out of participating last year, but head coach Tyler Garcia said the team continued to work hard despite the setback.
Cyprus finished the season 2-7. They defeated Taylorsville (32-30) and Granger (10-0).
Sophomore Skyler Armenta stepped in at the end of the season at quarterback for the Pirates. He replaced Rush Monsen after he was ruled out of the season. Combined they threw for over 800 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Defensive linebacker Julius Tikoisuva led the team with two interceptions.
Since 1950 they have played Murray 53 times and Granger 50. They are currently 22-27-1 against the Lancers and 4-14 against Hunter.
The UHSAA has realigned its region this season, Region 2 will only look slightly different. West Jordan has been moved out and Roy has taken their place.