Mustangs a Football Steam RollerNov 06, 2015 12:10PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James
South Valley - The Herriman High School football team could be described as a steam roller destined to flatten anything that comes into its path.
The Mustangs lost their first two games of the season: first to Brighton 23-14 despite a valiant comeback, They then lost a hard-fought defensive battle to the defending state champion Bingham Miners 6-0. Since that point, they have rolled off seven straight wins.
“There is always room for improvement with us, but our team is really starting to gel together both offensively and defensively. I think we have a great chance to do well,” junior Noah Vaea said.
Defensively Vaea has made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. He has eight interceptions, which is tied for the most in the state, and he leads the Mustangs with 51 tackles. Leki Fotu has provided pressure on opposing quarterbacks and has five and a half sacks.
The Mustangs’ roll of seven straight wins began against Region 2 title contender Hunter. Their 24 points to start the game built a comfortable lead that they would never relinquish. Senior Kaden Strasters racked up three touchdowns. The three-part backfield of Strasters, Brig Rush and Jake Jutkins combined for 161 yards rushing in the game.
Strasters has carried the ball 107 times for 593 yards this season and has 10 touchdowns. Tomasi Tonga is the team’s leading receiver with 11 catches.
The defense has been the mainstay for the team. Their opponents are averaging 9.5 points per game. They have 13 sacks as a team and five fumble recoveries and 45 tackles for a loss.
“On defense we play as a unit and trust each other. We like to make teams one dimensional (force them to play one way). I feel we have a good chance to play for a championship,” Vaea said.
The Mustangs have qualified for the state tournament every year since the school opened in 2010. They have never advanced further than the quarterfinals. In 2013 they lost to Brighton 41-36, and last season they were defeated by Bingham 36-6.
The Mustangs are scheduled to close out their regular season Oct. 22 at home against Lone Peak (after press deadline). The winner will represent Region 4 as the number one seed; the loser as the second seed in the state tournament. The state tournament is scheduled to begin Oct 30. The championship game is scheduled for Nov. 20 at the University of Utah