The Grizzly Way
Aug 06, 2015 10:42AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Greg James
West Jordan - The Copper Hills High School football team, coaches and administration all want to see improvement this season. The new coaching staff has brought a renewed excitement to the program.
The embrace between new head coach Tavita Sagapolu and Principal Todd Quarnberg after the July 2 scrimmage to mark the end of the team summer camp showed the beginning of the team’s progress. Quarnberg told his new coach he is excited to see where this team will go.
“The amount of techniques that we have been able to teach on offense and defense has far surpassed what I expected. These kids have been waiting for something like this for a long time. They were looking for the discipline. We are teaching them the way we do things, the Grizzly Way,” Sagapolu said.
Sophomore Alex Zettler has seen the majority of practice time at quarterback. The option running game and passing attack the Grizzlies plan to use is reliant on timing. Sagapolu is satisfied with the progress the team has made in his two months.
“The kids have bought in. I think we have a grade-A quarterback and offensive line. With our team being so young, we need to work on our maturity. Sometimes they forget and get angry, but we will learn to control our emotions. This will help us understand different parts of the game,” Sagapolu said.
Zettler will replace the tandem quarterbacks used last season, Tanner Fox and Andrew Wilson, who threw for a combined 2,285 yards and 19 touchdowns but had 14 interceptions. A consistent ground will help protect Zettler and give him more opportunities.
The Grizzlies have a core of six or seven running backs that could carry the load. Last season’s third leading rusher, Winston Reid, will return for his junior season. He had 65 carries for 187 yards. Senior Tristan Taumua carried the ball for 114 yards last season.
Sagapolu took over as the Grizzly head coach in April when John Tuescher stepped down. Tuescher coached at Copper Hills for two seasons. The Grizzlies were 4-16 under Tuescher and defeated West Jordan 19-7 in 2013 for the first time in school history.
“We want to make the playoffs. I think we are learning what it takes to get there. Our new coaches have got us working hard. I have worked hard with my teammates in the gym and now it is time to show it on the field,” sophomore defensive back Trey Bartlett said.
The Grizzlies will compete in Region 3 against Bingham, Brighton, Jordan, Taylorsville, West Jordan and Cottonwood.
They are scheduled to open their season Friday, Aug. 21 at home against Granger. They have made the state playoffs five times in the school’s 21 year history; the last time was in 2004.