Football Buddies Are The Best Kind: Brighton High School Football PreviewSep 10, 2015 05:49PM ● By Bryan Scott
By Sarah Almond
It’s only 8:30 in the morning and already the heat is almost unbearable. The Brighton High School Bengal football team has been practicing for two hours, with more than an hour of conditioning remaining.
The team began practicing in full pads on Aug. 10, but has been working hard in helmet practice and weight lifting since July 15.
“We’ve got a lot of returning guys for our varsity team this year,” head coach Ryan Bullett said, “and we’ve got a lot of hard workers.”
The Bengals are competing to be the 2015 5A Regional Champions, a title they have yet to claim.
“We have some pretty decent players,” Coach Bullett said, “but our goal is to get better week to week, regardless of wins or losses.”
Coach Bullett, a member of the Cottonwood Heights community for more than 20 years, is beginning his 10th season as head coach for the Bengals. A graduate of Hillcrest High School, Bullett played on the offensive line for the University of Utah Utes in 1989 and 1990. He currently holds a 55-45 record with the Bengals.
Through his years of leading the Bengals, Bullet has built a coaching staff rich with Brighton alumni. Twelve out of the 13 assistant coaches are all BHS graduates.
Offensive coordinator Denny Crockett, who has also coached the Bengals with Bullett for 10 years, played for BYU in 2000 and wide receiver coach Reno Mahe played for the Bengals until 1996, when he signed to play with BYU.
“I’m excited to see the offense get better all year long – all the way to the end of the season,” Crockett said.
Mahe, who was a running back and return specialist for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003 to 2007, is making his Bengals coaching debut in the 2015 season.
“I didn’t think the team was going to be anything like this,” Mahe said, “but these kids work really hard and have a good attitude.”
Positivity on the Bengals team is undeniable, as is the camaraderie. The team consists of 90 players and is comprised of an even number of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“One of our greatest strengths is our tightknit group,” senior captain and committed BYU recruit Drew Jenson said. “Our group is growing, but we all still have each other’s backs.”
After a season-ending injury in the 2014 season, Jenson is excited to get back on the field as more than just a verbal leader.
“I’m ready to step up and lead as best as I can,” Jenson said.
For decades, group unity and leadership have been strong focuses for the Bengals; so much so, in fact, that the team created a unique breakdown to encourage and build team spirit.
“Football buddies are the best kind, ‘cause nobody messes with a buddy of mine.”
Between two-a-day practices and team building activities off the field, the Bengals are preparing to take the 2015 season by storm.
“We have brand new turf, a brand new score board, and one of the nicest weight rooms in the state,” Bullett said, “and I think the guys are really excited about it.”
Even with a large group of players, the coaching staff is aware of the difficulties that lie ahead of the team in terms of depth.
“We’re low in numbers, so depth and staying healthy are going to be our biggest challenges,” Bullett said.
Thankfully, the team has a strong, reliable offense. As one of the highest scoring offenses in the region last year, Bullett is hoping for the same results in the coming season.
“Our offense will be clicking this year,” Bullett said.
“I’m feeling really good about the season,” said senior captain Jackson Kaufusi, a starter on both offense and defense. “We have some really good athletes on the team this year.”
The Bengals will play their first conference game at home against Herriman on Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.