Warriors, Cougars set to begin football seasonAug 02, 2021 01:42PM ● By Greg James
The offensive line will be a key at Taylorsville this fall to the team's offensive success. (Greg James/ City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The high school football season is set to begin earlier than usual this season. Taylorsville and Kearns have some roster holes to fill but find themselves ready.
The Warriors have a new head coach this season. Chris Rosales will take his place on the sidelines. He was an assistant with the team for two years before being named head man earlier this year.
“I am excited for this opportunity,” Rosales said after taking the job. “We have a young team and are ready to get the season underway.”
The most experienced group on the team is the offensive line. It will return five players with varsity experience. It is led by 5-foot-9 junior center Ryan Liston.
“We are slightly undersized and will need to use our speed to our advantage,” Rosales said.
Quarterback is a position still up for grabs as the summer workouts continue. Last year senior Hamani Wolfgramm threw for 15 touchdowns.
The Warriors hope to strengthen their quick-style spread offense they have used in recent seasons.
Rosales said the introduction of freshmen at the school will help boost the team numbers and help the younger players gain needed experience.
The Warriors’ all-time record is 126-268. They have won five games over the past three seasons and hope to break a streak of six straight losing seasons. They won nine games in 1999 when they lost in the state finals to Skyline.
The Warriors and Cougars will compete in the revamped UHSAA Region 2. This season, the region has added Roy and lost West Jordan.
The end of Kearns’ season last year was disappointing, but its returners are ready to move on.
The playoff run ended with a 1-0 forfeit to East because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the school and team.
“Lots of people don’t realize what kids go through,” Cougars’ head coach Matt Rickards said after the loss. “It (this sport) gives these kids purpose and direction. When it was taken away it was tough.”
Despite its ending, the season had brilliant moments.
Kearns won its share of a fourth straight region championship, and several graduates were given opportunities to continue to play football after high school.
The departure of those key players will give opportunities for new players to earn playing time.
Returning senior JT Toiaivao will have an opportunity at quarterback. He threw for 19 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards last season. Naki Leha rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Its defense held opponents to 15 points per game. Rickards called that the best defensive performance he has seen at the school.
“We had a great season, but people will remember how it ended, he said. “We need to remember the good things.”
The Cougars have posted six straight winning seasons, and the school’s overall record is 211-335-1.