* Note: This is the first of our season previews for Region 9 football. The preview schedule is as follows:
Today: Hurricane; Tuesday: Dixie; Wednesday: Pine View; Thursday: Desert Hills; Friday: Snow Canyon. Also, look for our game day Capsules every Friday.
HURRICANE – Hurricane finally tossed the monkey last year. Now what’s next?
The Tigers won the 3A football championship in 2011, a task that was frustratingly close the three previous years for Hurricane.
With that gorilla off their back, it may be time to sit back and reflect on how good the Tigers have actually been. After all, Hurricane made the state finals four straight years. During that stretch, HHS compiled records of 12-2 (2008), 11-3 (’09), 12-2 (’10) and last season’s perfect 13-0. That’s a phenomenal winning percentage of .872 (48-7). The Tigers have not lost by more than 14 points since September of 2007.
And so Coach Chris Homer and right-hand man Steve Pearson have created a very tough act to follow.
“We have had tremendous success, but all that is on the back-burner now,” Homer said. “All I’m concerned about is this (2012) team and these current players.”
Even though Hurricane graduated nearly 30 players off of that perfect team from a year ago, word around the region is that the Tigers are going to be pretty darn good again.
“We have some very good players back who played in the state championship game,” Homer said. “Adam Thompson and Jared Edwards are both special. Adam’s speed is legit. Jared is going to be a very big part of what we do.”
Hurricane, as always, is about a tough fullback and a speedy outside guy. Edwards, a state-champion wrestler, seems to fit the bill at fullback, though he got only 36 carries last season. Edwards, instead, spent most of last season on the other side of the ball as an all-state first team linebacker. Homer said he wouldn’t play too much at linebacker because they want him to be their featured fullback.
It is a telling decision about how important the fullback position is at Hurricane to remove Edwards from the equation on defense.
As for Thompson, he carried the ball 81 times last year and racked up 767 yards, an average of nearly 10 yards a pop, while scoring 13 touchdowns.
“He’s fantastic,” Homer said. “He’s pretty special, and he did some special things last year as well. He’s just in a different category.”
With backs like Edwards and Thompson, if the Tigers can fill some holes on defense and the offensive line, there’s no reason to believe they won’t have yet another glossy record at the end of 2012.
Head coach – Chris Homer (11th season, 76-42 overall)
Quarterbacks – Zac Prince is the heir apparent and a guy Homer calls the “perfect system quarterback” for Hurricane. Adlai Elison is the backup.
Running backs – Edwards and Thompson will get the bulk of the carries. Other guys in the mix will be Cody Lebaron, Robert Terrazas, Keanu Stevenson and Elison.
Receivers – Koy Gubler and Tyler Smith are the likely WR starters. “If our receivers can block downfield, good plays are going to become great plays,” Homer said. At tight end, Homer said all of his linebackers are capable of going both ways.
Offensive line – “Athleticism is real big for us, more than size,” Homer said. Hurricane is known for tough guards and this year is no different with Sino Safita and Thurman Joe leading the way.
Defensive line – Homer said Sean Hafen will be the lynchpin for this unit, with many o-linemen also playing on defense.
Linebackers – Homer was pretty stoked about this unit, with a bulked up Andy Perkins and Cody Engstrom in the middle and Safita and Bennett Hayward on the outside.
Defensive backs – Prince and Elison are the starting safeties, but will also share time with the back-ups depending on their workload on offense. Thompson and Gubler will play the cornerback spots.
Special teams – Thompson is an electrifying return man, while Eathan Stratton was an all-state placekicker last season for the Tigers. Stratton, just a junior, was booming kicks in the Tigers scrimmage last Friday.
Intangibles – Hurricane has established a system and the athletes in Hurricane Valley are perfectly molded for that system. Given recent history, it’s hard to believe Hurricane will lose any more than two or three years in any given season, which of course, makes them a state contender.
Fri., Aug. 17 – Skyline
Fri., Aug. 24 – at West Jordan
Fri., Aug. 31 – Legacy, Nev.
Fri., Sept. 7 – at Cedar
Fri., Sept. 14 – Dixie
Fri., Sept. 21 – at Snow Canyon
Fri., Sept. 28 – at Pine View
Fri., Oct. 5 – bye
Thu., Oct. 11 – Desert Hills
Wed., Oct. 17 – Canyon View
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