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The City Journals

Fought for and not given: Copper Hills football

Sep 02, 2020 04:17PM ● By Greg James

First-year quarterback Tommy Peake ran for two touchdowns for the Grizzlies in their first game this season. (Photo courtesy of Greg James/City Journals.)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Copper Hills won four straight football games last season. The team hopes to continue that trend this year.

“Wins and losses will come,” Grizzlies head coach Corey Dodds said. “We are at the point with this team that if we take an ‘L’ it better be an ‘L’ that was fought for and not given.”

The toughness and determination of its coach shows in the team and its players. 

The Grizzlies defensive line tackled a Taylorsville running back for and loss, Dodds threw his arms in the air, let out a holler in celebration of their accomplishment.

“If we play the way I know these kids can, we will sneak away with one or two,” he said. “We need to stay humble and hungry.” 

In their first post-COVID sporting event, the Grizzlies took the field two-by-two quietly, no hoopla or screams just quiet confidence on their faces. They opened the season with a 32-6 victory over Taylorsville. 

“We had some offensive woes to start with,” Dodds said. “We have a new quarterback; he was our best receiver last year, so he has some learning to do. He is an athlete and very smart. He just needs more game time underneath his belt.”

Tommy Peake started his first game at quarterback and ran for two touchdowns. Last season he had 40 receptions and three touchdowns. 

A first-quarter interception led to a Taylorsville touchdown and an early deficit. The Grizzlies were able to rebound and dominate from that point on.

“Defensively, we played really well,” Dodds said. “We played really sound. I like the way they flew around and kept the energy. We need to work on our timing offensively. Our play calling diversity will be a key. We can run the ball, but when someone packs the box (defends the run) we have got to find other things.”

Running back Kolianitioni Lemau will carry the load at running back. His barreling style is a deep contrast to the dink and dump screens the team runs to throw a defense off.

“He (Lemau) is a great skill player, and I love his leadership,” Dodds said. “He will be part of our diversity on offense that can open up the deep routes.” 

This is the fourth season under Dodds for the Grizzlies. He has compiled six wins in his tenure. The group of seniors has spent their entire high school careers under his tutelage.

“We had a bad practice one day in camp,” Dodds said. “I sat the seniors out of practice, and I told them, ‘This is your fourth season. I am not mad just disappointed, as a dad thing.’ I saw the look on their faces. This team has leadership from those seniors. Practices are different. We are at the point where we are good enough to stay in games.”

Defensively, he said he is impressed with the soundness of the team’s play.

“We finally have a team of guys that stay where they are supposed to be,” he said. “I have had teams that want to be successful, but they don’t understand that your job is what will make them better. They fly out and try to make a play to save the team. It is a weird selfish way to be, but it hurt the team. These guys stayed home when there were cutbacks; we had guys in those lanes. The d-ends were getting inside and forcing the ball into the safeties and linebackers to make the plays.” 

Copper Hills is scheduled to host Skyridge for homecoming Friday, Sept. 4. The school is following a strict Jordan School District protocol. Fans must prepurchase tickets to be in attendance.

“Our region is a tough region,” Dodds said. “These early games we need to clean stuff up.”