Granger Ute Football wins two championshipsDec 16, 2021 11:49AM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
Granger youth football teams made plenty of noise amongst the Ute Conference this season.
“This season was really good,” Granger district little league president Priscilla Tu’uao said. “We had six teams this season. All of our teams made the playoffs and three played in championship games. It was really exciting. In my seven years serving on the board I am not sure we have done this good.”
The youth football program, Ute Conference, is made up of 38 districts. These districts are situated around high school boundaries.
Granger had 134 registered athletes this season. They were divided by age group into six teams. The Mity Mite team—11 year olds—had two girls.
“They were phenomenal girls. They gave the boys a run for their money,” Tu’uao said. “I think that is what makes Granger special. We are a very diverse league. The kids go to school together and they know each other. The girls were very well respected and treated just like they were part of the team,” Tu’uao said.
The team the girls are on took second place in their division. They were coached this season by A’ati Tu’uao.
The number of participants in the program has decreased this year, but their determination has not.
“We have had more teams per age group in the past. We have tried to encourage kids to play where you stay,” Tu’uao said. “We feel like winning will help to bring those kids back to our district.”
Granger is one of the smaller districts in the conference. The high school players and coaches have made it a point to be part of the league.
“They have really had an influence. Coach Paala (Granger High School) grew up in Compton and reached out to my husband and made an impact in his life. When he got hired at the high school the first thing he did was meet with the little league,” Tu’uao said.
The little league program is important in encouraging players to stay and play at the high school.
“There is no question to make sure the kids know they are going to Granger. They like to see the kids they see on Friday night lights,” Tu’uao said.
The Gremlins—9 year olds—defeated Wasatch 14-6 to win their division championship. They were coached by Isileli Saafi.
The 12-year-olds in the Gridiron team beat Viewmont 7-6 in the championship game. They were coached by Kaelua Tuitupou.
The Granger football board celebrated with each team for their success this year.
“I have loved getting to know the families. This is a thankless job, it is hard to think about what happens when these kids go home. I know life can be hard. The sense of pride they can get from this game. The goal is not the NFL, they can use football to get to college. Then they can come back to the community,” Tu’uao said. “We have such a small board and they are amazing. I think we have made it work pretty well.”