Hurricane preview: Young Tigers hope to mature quickly

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

HURRICANE – Question marks abound when it comes to the 2013 Hurricane Tigers: How good will new fullback Jeremiah Ieremiah be? Will someone step up on the offensive line? With a very young team, will the string of great seasons end in 2013? How hard was the 2012 season-ending blowout loss to Juan Diego?

But there is one certainty at Hurricane: The Tigers will bring it.

Hurricane's Adlai Elison runs for yardage vs. Desert Hills Thursday night, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 11, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
Hurricane’s Adlai Elison will run the show at QB in 2013. File photo from Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 11, 2012 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

“We’ve been lucky enough to build a program at Hurricane that the people in this town love,” coach Chris Homer said. “It all starts in the weight room and with hard work. We’re excited, even though we have a very young team. We had a great summer and the boys worked hard.”

The focal point of Hurricane’s Wing-T is always the fullback and Homer said that’s one area he feels very confident about with junior Jeremiah Ieremiah.

“He’s 226 pounds of solid muscle,” Homer said. “He’s big and strong and fast and man has he got a set of legs.”
Of course, Ieremiah will only be as good as the linemen who block for him. And that’s an area of concern with only Jordan Ence returning from a line that had a great season a year ago.

“With the O-line, it’s always hard to replace seniors,” Homer said. “We’re small up front, but tough. I feel good about our speed.”

Adlai Elison, who played primarily defense last year, will be the starter at quarterback. Usually, a Tigers QB is more of a coordinator on the field, making sure all the pieces to the dizzying offense fit. But Elison has a decent arm and a pair of good wide receivers in brother Noah Elison and Jay Williams. That could mean a bit more passing.

“Yeah, we may throw 12 times a game instead of 10,” quipped Homer.

After losing in three straight championships to Juan Diego, Hurricane had to face the Soaring Eagle in Draper in the quarterfinals. The result was a disaster for the Tigers, a 38-0 loss.

“That hurt a lot. It hurt me and it hurt this program,” Homer said. “It’s a scar, but scars heal.”

The healing won’t be easy, with probably the toughest non-league schedule in the 3AA South region, including an opening trip to Skyline. The Eagles will likely be laying in wait as Hurricane has beaten them three times in a row to start the two teams’ seasons.

HURRICANE FILE
Head Coach: Chris Homer (12th year, 85-44)
Last Season: 9-2, 5-1 in Region 9 (co-champs), State Quarterfinalist
Last Season PPG: 31.9; PAG: 20.5
Home Field: Tiger Stadium
Quarterbacks: Elison started the last three games of last season after Zac Prince was injured, experience that could prove valuable
Running backs: Ieremiah is a bruiser, al la Brian Scott. But who will be the lightning to his thunder?
Receivers: Jay Williams and Adlai’s brother, Noah, provide some seep and excitement at the wide-out spot. But Hurricane’s 80/20 run-heavy offense means that not too many balls will fly their way.
Offensive line: Jordan Ence is the lone returner from last season, so the Tigers will be raw up front. Austin Butler will be a key contributor at right tackle, opposite of Ence, who calls the Hurricane Wing-T “an offense built for linemen.”
Defensive line: Ence will also anchor the D-line. Jacob Randall has bulked up some and will be a key contributor here.
Linebackers: Ieremiah is a “next-level” guy at linebacker, according to Homer. But can he carry the full load on both sides of the ball. Andy Perkins will be sorely missed.
Defensive backs: Elison is a fine safety, but the Tigers may use him sparingly on defense so he will be able to run the offense. Charlie Sefita should also contribute.
Special teams: First-team all-stater Ethan Stratton returns to kick for Hurricane. He had eight field goals and 65 total points last season, plus he booms most kickoffs into the end zone, a rare and valuable tool in high school.
Intangibles: Hurricane has been so good for so long (57-10 since 2008). The recipe has been long summers in the weight room, hard-nosed, hard-hitting defenders and an offense that’s nearly impossible to stop. That hasn’t changed, though having 28 seniors leaving the program certainly hurts. A brutal schedule won’t help early on with four straight road games (at Skyline, at Stansbury, at Legacy, Nev., and at Payson), plus a region bye week game vs. Logan. But how can you count out a program with such a proven track record?

Hurricane Schedule
(Non-league difficulty: A)
8/23 Hurricane @ Skyline
8/30 Hurricane @ Stansbury
9/07 Hurricane @ Legacy, Nev.
9/13 Hurricane @ Payson
9/20 Cedar @ Hurricane
9/27 Hurricane @ Dixie
10/4 Snow Canyon @ Hurricane
10/10 Pine View @ Hurricane
10/16 Logan @ Hurricane
10/25 Hurricane @ Desert Hills

2013 3AA South Region Media prediction:
Rank  Team (1st vts)   total points

1. Desert Hills (4)   51 points
2. Pine View (1)  44 points
3. Hurricane (2) 41 points
4. Dixie (1)  38 points
5. Snow Canyon    18 points
6. Cedar    16 points
7. Payson    15 points

* Editor’s note: This week the STGNews sports department previews the new 3AA South Region. Preview schedule: Monday — Cedar and Payson; Tuesday — Snow Canyon and Pine View; Wednesday — Dixie and Hurricane; Thursday — Desert Hills; Friday — Gameday preview caps.

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Ash August 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Great article Andy! If my nephew warrants any mentions this season for future articles, will you please spell his last name correctly? Jeremiah Ieremia — thanks! 🙂 Go get ’em Tigers!!

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