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Improving Westside Football

Aug 30, 2016 03:54PM ● Published by Travis Barton

Granger players have focused on believing they can compete against bigger and better teams. — Greg James

Gallery: Improving Westside Football [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

Coaches at the three West Valley high schools have used their team’s past success as a way to motivate their players to want to participate for their west side schools and make them great again.
 
The players at Granger, Cyprus and Hunter have embraced their team’s idea to help them succeed. Lancers have been asked to believe in themselves. The Pirates have “I am we are” everywhere the team looks. The Wolverines are taught to “Live the tradition.”
 
Granger
 
The Lancers have missed the playoffs since 2012. Teaching the players to believe in themselves has become a focus of third year head coach Mike Morgan.
 
The Lancers hope that Morgan will solidify its coaching carousel. He is the seventh coach since 2000 to pilot them. Despite the revolving door in leadership the Lancers continue to find themselves trying to prove to the outsiders they belong.
 
The experience that the younger Lancer players gained last season is expected to help them this year. They have another year of experience in Morgan’s double wing offense and 4-3 defense. They return seven starters on both sides of the ball. This experience could be a key to the team improving on last season.
 
The Lancers have won 212 games since 1970. This includes last season’s 4-6 overall record. Their offense averaged 27.1 points per game. The problem came in stopping their opponents. They allowed 282 points and they did not win a game on their home field; both glaring points they hope to change going into 2016.
 
They started their season Aug. 19 against Copper Hills (after press deadline). Their first Region 2 contest is scheduled for Sept. 16 against cross town rival Hunter. The Lancers are 5-18 all-time against the Wolverines.
 
Key players to watch this season include tight end Sydney Alofipo, running back Ryno Tavai, running back/ defensive back Sione Houma and Hector Magallanges. As team captains they are expected to provide the leadership for the team.
 
The City Journals sports staff picks the Lancers to finish sixth in Region 2.
 
Hunter
 
The Wolverines have not missed the state playoffs since the school’s inaugural season in 1990. Their only state championship came in 2003.
 
The Wolverines finished in second place in Region 2 last season. Their overall record was 6-4, their defense only allowed one opponent (Herriman) to score more than 30 points. Their continued ability to stop their opponents will be a key to the team's success this season.
 
The Wolverines have holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball, all of the team’s experienced running backs and the quarterback graduated. Gordon Nai and sophomore Tanner Lunceford are competing for the open quarterback position. The Wolverines offense always includes a power running game. Several players are vying for those key touches including Ty Carlson and Carson Pututau.
 
The offense and defensive lines continue to be a team strength. They won the Ute shoot lineman challenge this summer. Lorenzo Fauatea is a leader on that line. He has received several division one scholarship offers.
 
Hunter started its season Aug. 19 against American Fork. After facing Riverton they are scheduled to host Mountain View from Meridian, Idaho on Sept. 1. The highlight on the team’s schedule could be its Sept. 16 game against its rival Granger.
 
The City Journals sports staff picks Hunter to finish second in Region 2.
 
Cyprus
 
A renewed enthusiasm has entered Magna. In his second year as head coach Jed Smith has embraced the importance of the team to its community. His renewed vigor has pumped life into the team. He has encouraged players to participate in off season academics programs to help more of them stay eligible.
 
The Pirates went 2-8 last season. Despite its dire looking record the team did see a renewed success. They defeated Skyline in a region game and also topped Copper Hills 23-12 in a preseason contest. This year they toned down their schedule with teams more in their realm. They are scheduled to open the season at home against Grantsville Aug. 19 (after press deadline).
 
The excitement has poured over onto the student body. They packed the stadium for its annual preseason scrimmage. The cheerleaders and Spinakers performed and the team showcased its new talent.
 
The Pirates are in the second year of Smith’s pro-style offense. They only return four starters from last years team. Its 4-3 defense returns five starters. The relative inexperience could affect them in the beginning this season. The team is on the right track embracing its “I am we are” slogan.
 
The City Journals sports staff picks the Pirates to finish fifth in Region 7. 
Sports, Today Cyprus High School Hunter High School Granger High School west valley city football magna
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