Taylorsville has some of the best talent in the stateSep 02, 2020 04:11PM ● By Greg James
Taylorsville head coach Joe Johnson said senior running back Braxton Bates is one of the best in the state. (Photo courtesy of Greg James/City Journals.)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Its flashes of brilliance and disappointment make the Taylorsville football team a tough team to pick or ignore in Utah’s Class 6A.
“We are a more talented team,” second-year head coach Joe Johnson said. “We need to execute to win these games.”
In its opening game of the 2020 season, the Warriors matched up against cross-town rival Copper Hills, a team they have beaten 15 out of 22 times in school history, but they were unable to avenge last season’s drubbing losing 32-6.
Senior quarterback Hamani Wolfgramm engineered a first-quarter drive that ended with a short 5-yard keeper for a touchdown to put the Warriors up 6-0, but that was about all they could muster.
“Our defense held tight and played a great game,” Johnson said after the loss. “They were in the backfield making plays, and they kept us in the game. Our offense had trouble executing. Offensively, we had lots of dropped balls and issues on special teams. We need to focus on us and fix us. I have seen these boys play well all summer. I know they can do it.”
Senior running back/linebacker Braxton Bates was a bright spot in the loss.
“Bates is one of the best players in the state of Utah,” Johnson said. “If he is not playing for one of the major teams—Utah, Utah State, or Weber—next season, if one of them doesn’t pick him up, then I don’t know what they are looking at on tape. He plays like his hair is on fire—an absolute beast. He is a two-sport athlete (baseball), a good student and good kid.”
“Coach is not wrong,” Warriors’ offensive coordinator Chris Hooper said. “The kid is a stud at both linebacker and running back.”
Bates averaged over six yards a carry and scored five touchdowns last season. He also had 11 receptions and nearly seven tackles a game on defense.
Three offensive turnovers in the Copper Hills game put its strong defense in compromising situations all game.
“An injury before the game hurt us, and we just had no confidence, and I know these kids really wanted it too,” Johnson said.
Junior center Tau Ieremia got injured early in the contest.
“He [Ieremia] has the biggest heart you are going to see,” Johnson said. “He told me, ‘They are going to need to drag me off the field, coach.’ He is the heartbeat of the team. Martin [Lawrence] has potential for sure. He has promise and is doing great things for us.”
Lawrence suffered a knee injury int he first half and had to be helped off the field. Before his injury, the Copper Hills running game was held in check; afterward they compiled four rushing touchdowns.
“There are a lot of great players on this team,” Johnson said. “Will Taukeiaho is a monster and very emotional. Kamal Wani brings the wood. I expect a lot from all of them.”
The Warriors are scheduled to play at Kearns Friday, Sept. 4, and host Cyprus Sept. 11. They compete in Region 2.
“We have a tough region,” Johnson said. “Kearns and Hunter will be tough. Those games are fun. The kids are playing against family in those games. It is kind of an angry rivalry. It is great to see that on the sidelines. I believe we can compete in this region; we just need to fix us.