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Granger Charges Like a Rhino

Oct 07, 2016 02:34PM ● Published by Greg James

The Lancers run the ball often behind the powerful double wing offense designed by its head coach Mike Morgan. (Greg James/City Journals)

Gallery: Granger Charges Like a Rhino [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Greg James | gregj@mycityjournals.com


The Granger High School football team is trying to accomplish something that has not happened since 2012 — a return to the state playoffs. Senior Amata “Rhino” Tavai feels his team is charging down the path to attain that goal.

“Our season is going to end in state. I know for me and my team that is what we want. We are going to do it,” Tavai said.

Tavai is second on the team in rushing yards with 112 yards and three touchdowns. Sione Houma leads the Lancer rushing attack with 324 yards. The ground game is the primary source of offense for the team, after five games they had only attempted six passes.

The Lancers will have to wait one more year to accomplish another feat that has evaded them; beat a rival, Hunter High School. The Wolverines have managed to defeat the Lancers 10 straight times. The last Lancer victory came in 2001, 44-13. Hunter leads the all-time series 19 to 5. On Sept. 16 the Wolverines hosted Granger for their homecoming game and managed to pull out the victory in front of a large crowd.

“Hunter is always a big game for us. Every year we look forward to that game,” Head Coach Mike Morgan said.

Granger jumped out to a 7-0 lead on an 88-yard kick return from Houma. Hunter then scored 33 unanswered points to hold on for a 33-13 victory. Tavai scored in the fourth quarter on a short three-yard run to cap off the scoring. 

Despite its first loss in region play the Lancers have built some confidence from their three pre-season victories. They started the season with a convincing 55-12 home victory over Copper Hills. In the game they scored the first 44 points before Copper Hills cracked the end zone. The Lancers also defeated Kearns 28-21 and Hillcrest by the same score. Their only loss came at Lehi 40-12.

“We have had our moments when we have played well. We need to work a few little things and keep our composure in tight spots,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he has several players with potential to continue playing at the collegiate level. 

“We have a tight end (Junior Tiatia) that has an offer from SUU, we have kids that can compete. Rhino is a great player. There is no doubt he has the potential to keep playing, but his size is not the prototypical that coaches are looking for. He can play at the next level,” Morgan said. “Sione (Houma) is also a great player, but I think it is most important that we play as a team.”

Morgan is in his third year as the Lancers’ head coach. 

The Lancers are scheduled to close out their regular season at Syracuse (Oct. 7), at home against West (Oct. 13) and at home against Viewmont (Oct. 19). The state playoffs are scheduled to begin Oct. 28. The finals are scheduled for Nov. 18 at the University of Utah.   

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