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The City Journals

Pirate football, I am we are

Oct 31, 2016 04:48PM ● By Greg James

he Pirate football team helped celebrate homecoming day activities in the parade. (Jed Smith/Cyprus football)

By Greg James | [email protected]

West Valley, Utah - Despite the lack of wins for the Cyprus High School football team the coaching staff feels the program is headed in the right direction. Its academic program and the growth of the underclasses have the team excited for the future. 

“The increase in number of kids in the program is certainly a moral victory. Keeping our kids here has made our younger groups better. This season has been disappointing; we had some big expectations going in. I feel we have improved the talent level of the team, but it has not translated to Friday night yet,” said Pirates head coach Jed Smith.

The Pirates only victory this season came Sept. 2 at Copper Hills 29-18. In the win they had 232 total yards on offense, a season high. Senior Brooks Marshall and freshman Albert Taufui ran for a touchdown each.

When Smith took over the program 15 months ago the Pirates had finished the season with only 37 kids on the roster. When fall team camp opened this fall 106 students showed up. The Student Ethics Squad (SES) has also helped the student athletes maintain eligibility. 

“The after school program has made a drastic impact to help us keep kids eligible to participate. We have seen growth in these kids’ lives. We just hope that this success will start to carry over to Friday nights,” Smith said.

The SES program has helped student athletes with tutoring and homework. Several students have maintained eligibility because of the program. The school has also been able to earn county grant money to help feed students an after school meal, something some students would not have. These extra programs have helped the Pirates on and off the playing field.

The Pirates started 13 underclassman on the varsity team. Smith said some of the younger kids have gotten some valuable experience. The varsity and junior varsity programs are seeing increase in the number of players and some success.

“Clayton Johnson is a sophomore we are really excited about. He is part of our group of younger players that are seeing that success. He is strong and plays like an ox,” Smith said.

Johnson is a 6’ 3”, 270-lb. offensive tackle and defensive lineman. 

“The biggest thing for our program would be for us to win. Winning solves a lot of problems. I think the parents and younger groups are seeing the changes we are making and what we are building,” Smith said.

The team adopted the theme is ‘winning isn’t normal.’ 

“We want to do things that we normally do not do. The normal things were not giving us the results we wanted. Whether it is in the classroom or on the field we want to step out of normal,” Smith said. “Our team motto is I am we are, I am because of everyone else. The team has started to gain the confidence and become better.”

The Pirates have seen their hard work begin to change the program.

“The seniors have been willing and I could not have asked for a better attitude with them to help us with our purpose and change. Our younger kids will see themselves put a stamp on this change and in a couple of years this will seem like an entirely different program,” Smith said.