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West Jordan Journal

Grizzlies begin season on a high

Sep 23, 2019 03:13PM ● By Greg James

The Grizzlies defense has been stifling to begin the season, allowing just 13 points in the first four games. (Photo courtesy of Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

The beginning of the football season for Copper Hills has been like no other. Winning their first four games has never happened in school history.

In 2008 the Grizzlies began the season by winning three straight and then fell to Pleasant Grove. This year they took one step farther and defeated Providence Hall 49-6 for the school record.

“We are still trying to learn how to win,” Grizzlies head coach Corey Dodds said. “We need to know how to play well in sequential weeks.”

This is only the third time the team has attained a three-game winning streak; 2001 and 2008 were the others.

“Our confidence is much better than in years past, but like I have said these guys need to learn how to put together better weeks and clean weeks and then be more discipline,” Dodds said.

The confidence of winning is important to the underclassmen on the team.

“We are just young; we played a team like Hillcrest, and even though they are having a down year, they do not give up; they will fight,” Dodds said. “I warned my guys. It shocked the kids a little bit. We have a really strong region and will need to learn how to win.”

At quarterback, sophomore Cody Lazenby has completed 50 percent of his passes and has six touchdowns. 

“I feel like I could be better on my passing,” Lazenby said. “I feel good about how we have played. They were stacking the box (in the Hillcrest game), so we threw it outside and opened it up. I know we have some tough games coming up.”

Dodds has incorporated a simple offense that takes advantage of what the defense is giving them. Against Hillcrest the Huskies stacked the middle of the field with eight defenders, so Lazenby found junior Tommy Peake in the slot five times for 52 yards, opening the middle for the run game to become effective. 

Standing at 5-foot-11, Peake relates to a well-known University of Utah receiver. “I am like Britain Covey,” he said after the Hillcrest victory. “I feel like I run my routes very good like him. This season has been very good, but we have some tough games coming up.”

The Grizzlies are scheduled to face three of the Deseret News top 10 teams to finish its season. They travel to East and Riverton (after press deadline) before returning home to host Jordan, Friday, Oct. 4. They will finish the season at Herriman and hosting Bingham, Oct. 11 and 18, respectively.

The Utah High School Activities Association reorganized its region alignments this season. The Grizzlies will face its opponents from Region 3, but their finish will not determine its positioning in the state tournament. A new rating performance index will seed all teams into the final tournament. 

“We started off slow,” Dodds said. “I could tell from our warm-ups that we had a hangover from our week one victory. Our offense has kept it simple and have worked to take care of the ball.”

Daniel Gonzalez has carried the ball 29 times mid-way through the season for 226 yards and four touchdowns. His counterpart, junior Marley Mauha, added 214 yards on the ground and six touchdowns through the first four games. 

Copper Hills saw its streak end Sept.13 with a 31-0 home loss to Juan Diego.