Hunter football plays in new region with familiar foesSep 11, 2023 02:29PM ● By Greg James
Hunter junior Ami Koa lands the two-point conversion against Clearfield. (Greg James/City Journals)
Hunter High School kicked off its football season, splitting their first two games. They lost to Green Canyon and beat Clearfield in their home opener. This season begins with some new things that seem familiar.
The Wolverines have started the season slowly. Head coach Harold Moleni said they are on track.
“We are not where we need to be, however we are progressing,” Moleni said. “I am just asking for us to get better daily.”
Their second game of the season demonstrated the improvement Moleni wants. The Wolverines started the game by having two lackluster drives. After Clearfield hit a 29-yard field goal the game changed for them. With the help of several penalties they moved the ball down the field and senior running back Kennyon Paea scampered for a 13-yard touchdown and a 6-3 lead.
The team’s running backs kept the ground game moving. They never relinquished that lead. Paea added another 5-yard touchdown and junior Lote Sotele secured his own touchdown. They won the game 36-6.
“We are Hunter High School, tailback high and when we need to turn to our tailbacks they answer the call. We try to play to our strengths. We get the ball into our playmakers’ hands and ask them to do a job,” Moleni said.
Last season, Paea and Sotele combined for 1,001 yards and three touchdowns. Paea credits his team for their success.
“I am just motivated to play for my brothers and the community that comes out to watch us play,” Paea said. “Our line helps us get it done, I credit them.”
The offensive line this season includes juniors Daniel Misinale, Tuiafo Tufuga and Jonathan Faatuau Lole and seniors Lui Schwenke and MJ Taulafo. They average 285 pounds. Hunter relies on their strength to keep its running game on track.
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, junior Uluaki Taukiuvea has taken a majority of the snaps at quarterback. He completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior Lucas Heflin. Taukiuvea also pushed the line for a 1-yard touchdown from a quarterback sneak. He knows they have places they can get better.
“We need to build team chemistry,” Taukiuvea said. “We can work on fundamentals.”
As Hunter improves its game to start the season they will venture into new but familiar territory.
The UHSAA reorganized its region and class configuration. Hunter will now be part of Region 4 in the 5A classification. They were in the 6A classification. Its new region has familiar opponents.
The other schools competing in Region 4 include Cyprus, Granger, West Jordan, Kearns and Taylorsville.
Last season, the Wolverines finished the year with a 2-8 record in fifth place in Region 2. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to West 42-9. Something they hope to improve on this season.
“We need to work on execution. We don’t install a bunch of stuff. We just try to get good at the few things that we do. We want to do them really well,” Moleni said.
The Wolverines are scheduled to play at Copper Hills Sept. 1. They will host Cyprus Sept. 15 and West Jordan Sept. 21.
This is Moleni’s second season as head coach for the Wolverines.
“The kids are better in the classroom than they have been in the past,” he said. “They are buying into what we are trying to teach them. We want them to win everything. You have to win in the classroom, at home, at church, wherever you are. That translates into a good football player. I love these kids, they are my boys.”λ