Region 9 football: Hurricane Tigers look to bounce back after disappointing end to 2016

HURRICANE – Hurricane was two points away from beginning 2016 with a 4-1 record. But that good start soured as the Tigers dropped their last five games, including the first-round playoff game against Bear River and a 3-7 final record.

The Tigers have spent the time since then rebuilding their program. With only four starters returning on each side of the ball, the rebuild had to come quickly.

“We have the same system in our sub-varsity and varsity programs,” said Hurricane head coach Steve Pearson. “The players that are stepping up and filling in open slots have either played varsity last year in backup roles or with our junior varsity squad. In either case, they have a familiarity with what we want to do.”

Hurricane head coach Steve Pearson

One returner from last year is the lynchpin to the Tiger Wing-T offense, the fullback. Jaron Cordova was six yards shy of 1,000 last year with an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Returning with him in the backfield is halfback Kolby Heaton (241 yards, 5.4 ypc). Also running the ball this year will be HK Wolfgramm, Tyler Moore and Christian Haynes.

“We are excited with the progress that HK Wolfgramm has made since last year,” said Pearson. “With Jaron and Kolby, we have three backs that are playmakers for us.”

Directing the offense this year will be sophomore Brock Starley. He battled in the preseason with returner Adam Heyrend for the position.

“Adam is an athlete and one of our team leaders,” said Pearson. “He is an integral part of our defense. He will be able to focus on defense and if we need him at quarterback, we will have an experienced backup to fill in should Brock not be able to go.”

Hurricane’s Jaron Cordova (15) will be a key figure in 2017 for the Tigers | File photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

At the wideout skill positions will be Jorge Sanchez, Traycen Abbott and Jaden Gubler.

In the trenches, the five starters will be Shane Farnsworth, Austin Wright, Jadon Olieken, Tanner Wright and Steve Campbell (23 tackles). Preston Huntsman will start at tight end with Ryan LeBaron also seeing playing time.

Defensively, many of the same names appear. Hurricane has the notoriety of having the smallest enrollment of schools in 4A. Depth is not a luxury afforded the Tigers like many of their Region 9 foes.

Campbell will team with Tyler Wood and Ethan Norman in the defensive trenches. Huntsman and LeBaron will flank them as outside linebackers. Rounding out the front seven are middle linebackers Palmer Lee Mesa and Wes Christianson. Farnsworth will also see extensive time at middle linebacker.

The secondary will have Sanchez and Abbott at the corners with Heyrend (22 tackles) and Heaton (20 tackles) playing the safety spots.

Hurricane opens the season at Mountain View High School in Orem on Aug. 18. The Tigers home opener will come a week later against Christian High School out of El Cajon, Calif.

Region begins Sept. 8 as Hurricane heads to state champ Desert Hills.

Hurricane Tigers
Coach Steve Pearson

2016 Results (3-7, 1-4)
Skyline 28, Hurricane 27
Hurricane 20, Canyon View 16
Moapa Valley (Nev.) 25, Hurricane 13
Hurricane 25, Carbon 0
Hurricane 22, Snow Canyon 16
Desert Hills 51, Hurricane 23
Pine View 49, Hurricane 19
Cedar 37, Hurricane 29
Dixie 42, Hurricane 14
Bear River 20, Hurricane 13

2017 schedule (home games bolded)
Aug. 18 – at Mountain View
Aug. 25 – vs. Christian (Calif.)
Sept. 1 – vs. Moapa Valley (Nev.)
Sept. 8 – at Desert Hills
Sept. 15 – at Canyon View
Sept. 22 – vs. Cedar
Sept. 29 – vs. Pine View
Oct. 5 – at Dixie
Oct. 11 – vs. Snow Canyon
Oct. 19 – bye

Returning starters: Offense 4, defense 4

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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