Lancers fighting for high playoff seedOct 12, 2023 03:24PM ● By Greg James
Senior Jordan Tu’uao has averaged 7.2 yards per carry this season. (Photo courtesy of Granger Football)
Granger has unleashed its football program. Victories in its first two region contests put them in first place in the new region 4.
“We are in a different place than we have been,” head coach Pala Vaitu’u said in his second season.
The Lancers have used a combination of good defense and offense to put themselves into the top 10 of the Utah High School Activities Committee’s RPI standings. Sitting at No. 9 they would be the highest-ranked team in Region 4.
On Sept. 21 the Lancers proved their dominance by handling Kearns. Their defense forced four turnovers including an 85-yard pick-six by junior Uisi Tu’uao. In the game senior Vaka Patetefa had two sacks, increasing his team-leading total to 10, nearly two per game. Senior Johvian Ki leads the team with two interceptions.
Their defense is only allowing 21 points per game. This includes its season-opening loss to Corner Canyon 55-7. Corner Canyon is one of the best teams in the state and the reigning 6A state champion.
The Granger offense is borderline prolific. It is led by senior and BYU signee Carson Su’esu’e. He has completed 65% of his passes and has 20 touchdowns. Halfway through the season, he has thrown for 1,893 yards. He has also rushed for six touchdowns.
Su’esu’e is rated a three-star recruit by 247 sports. He is ranked as recruit No. 15 in the state. According to his profile page, the 6-foot-5-inch quarterback signed with BYU in June 2023. He also had offers from Utah State, Arizona State, Florida Atlantic and Hawaii.
Granger defeated Region 4 foe West Jordan. The teams were tied at 14 headed into the fourth quarter. The Lancer’s defense held the Jaguars to six points. The game ended in a 27-20 victory. This was the seventh time in school history they had beaten West Jordan.
The UHSAA changed region alignments this season. The teams in the former Region 2 were all moved to Region 4 in 5A. The change is expected to strengthen the 5A classification.
The new Region 4 includes Kearns, Taylorsville, Hunter, Cyprus and West Jordan. In 6A this region had relatively little post-season success. Last season, Granger lost in the first round to Fremont 23-13 of the football playoffs.
Vaitu’u is in his fifth season at Granger. He has a record of 14-34 at Granger. He admits coming to Granger was difficult. His first responsibility was to teach them a new offensive scheme.
“It has been night and day at Granger,” Vaitu’u said his second year at the school. “They all understand pass routes and blocking now.”
The Lancers began the season losing to Corner Canyon. They have defeated Viewmont and Skyline in their preseason.
Granger is scheduled to play Cyprus on Oct. 6 and its final home game Wednesday, Oct. 11 against Hunter. λ