Grizzlies football prepared to take the next step
Aug 29, 2018 04:50PM
● By Jana Klopsch
The offensive line group for the Grizzlies knows it will be a key in the team's success this season. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Copper Hills quarterback, senior Dallon Jones, scampered backward, faked to his right turned and fired a 45-yards bomb down the sideline, just missing the streaking wide receiver at the team's open scrimmage. His blue squad defeated the Silver team 13-7.
As the Grizzlies prepare for their upcoming season, they have hope that many of these missed plays early can turn into successful game changing experiences.
“We have been grinding really hard all summer,” Grizzlies head coach Corey Dodds said. “We have been polishing things up and getting ready for the season.”
Dodds runs the Grizzly program similar to what he experienced as a linebacker for the University of Utah. His hard-nosed, aggressive play has translated into an important part of the Grizzlies football program he oversees.
“I think I have gotten a bad rap from some kids,” Dodds said. “They say, ‘He runs it like a college.’ I’d say yeah sort of. We have worked the kids hard. Statistics show that about 5 percent of players show up for all of their offseason workouts. Amazing enough, about 5 percent get college scholarships. If they want to play college ball then showing up now and then is not going to cut it.”
The Grizzlies have opened their 2018 football season hoping to improve on last season’s 1-9 record. Dodds expects his team to improve and show the talent he has seen.
“I have some guys that are on the bubble,” he said. “We have some guys that could play D1 (top level college football) and for sure what was D2 (second level college football).”
DJ Jackson is a leader of the Grizzly offensive line. The 6-foot-1 295-pound senior secures what Dodds calls the most important part of his team.
“I played linebacker,” Dodds said. “I know that offensive line and linebackers need to be the nastiest guys on the field. As a defensive coach, I lean heavily on the offensive line. When you have leadership at linebacker and offensive line then you generally have a good football team. DJ has led the way with this team. We have plenty of senior leaders.”
The line players include Jackson, Carston Hiller, Gabe Conriquez, Chris Arellanes and Jay Archibald.
“Jay was lifting with the wide receivers and now is repping like three plates (about 300pounds) with the lineman,” Dodds said. “Watch our offensive line this season.”
Jones has shown the skills at quarterback to lead the Grizzlies. Dodds likes the leadership he contributes to the team.
“Dallon is shifty and very athletic,” he said. “Keep your eye on him at quarterback. We have some important skill players that will make a difference this year. We have not been traditionally good. I think it comes down to connecting with our youth teams. That is something we are working on.”
Copper Hills has won 45 games since its initial season in 1995. They last played in the state tournament in 2004. They have only defeated West Jordan High School once in their 24 meetings (in 2013).
Dodds has seen the improvement statistically. In 2016, the Grizzly offense averaged 10.4 points per game. Last season, they improved to 11.8. They scored a season-high 26 points at Cyprus. In the game, they kept it close until Cyprus hit two long passes to break it open.
Copper Hills lost to Kearns 29-14 to open the season Aug. 17. The Grizzlies hosted Ben Lomond on Aug 24 and will play at home against Cyprus Aug. 31.
The Grizzlies compete in the Utah High School Activities Association Region 3 against East, Herriman, Taylorsville, West Jordan and Riverton.