West Jordan football: Improvement is key as Meifu heads into fourth year
Aug 21, 2018 03:30PM
● By Jana Klopsch
Last season, Ben Anderson filled in admirably for Oakley Kopp after his injury. The quarterback threw for 984 yards. (dsandersonpics.com)
By Greg James | [email protected]
In his fourth year as head football coach at West Jordan, Mike Meifu continues to press his program to become better and better.
Practice had scarcely ended. Meifu sat with his head down on the bench contemplating the complexity of what had just happened. The Jaguar offense had looked sparse and its defense finely tuned, yet he knew the season held the potential to be a great one.
“Sometimes I wonder, today at practice our defense was flying around; they have gotten better every year,” Meifu said. “They play with an aggressive mindset and are extremely fast. They are doing what we have coached them for the last four years. This is all they have known the whole time I have been here.”
The summer preparation on offense has included a healthy Oakley Kopp. He was injured in the team's fourth game last year and was forced to sit out. The 6-foot-2 senior quarterback threw for 628 yards in four games with four touchdowns.
“Our summer stuff has been good,” Meifu said. “Kopp is absolutely one of the top quarterbacks. Not playing his entire junior year will make him a surprise. He has worked his butt off. He has a different perspective. He has a fire in him.”
One of the keys to the Jaguar offensive production is its line. They are returning three starters from last season: Jayden Webster, Terrell Lupeamanu and Devon Slater.
“When these guys are together, they do some amazing things,” Meifu said. “They are great returning players. Jayden will anchor our offensive line. He is a three-year-starter. They all started every game for us last year.”
Despite Kopp’s strong passing arm, the Jaguars will rely on a slashing and powerful running game. McKendrick Johnson and Isaiah Lapale combined for 174 yards and a touchdown.
“They are two very explosive players,” Meifu said. “They have different running styles that really contrast one another. Isaiah is bigger and more of a downhill back. McKendrick is shifty has great vision.”
The defensive line is all brand-new. They have depth and are explosive, but Meifu said the linebacking corps is the nucleus of the defense.
“I love our defensive line,” Meifu said. “They are great kids and play with good technique. Our linebackers are very experienced. Helaman Sosi has been playing since he was a freshman. They are senior heavy.”
Tavake Ngalo and junior Dallas Brown have plenty of experience in the middle of the defense.
“For us to win, we need to dominate up front in our line,” Meifu said. “We have skill players that can contribute if we win in the trenches. We are not outmatched. It will come down to us executing.”
Meifu has worked to create an environment for the youth of the West Jordan to build a connection.
“We do not have negative things with these kids,” Meifu said. “I really like how committed they have been in the offseason. They have put in the work, and I am excited to see what they can do.”
West Jordan is scheduled to open its season Aug. 17 at home against Westlake (after press deadline).
The Jaguars will compete in the Utah High School Activities Association Region 3 against Copper Hills, Riverton, Herriman, Taylorsville and East.