Taylorsville football looking for progress as Warriors move to new regionSep 11, 2023 01:28PM ● By Josh McFadden
Heading into this season, the Taylorsville football team hadn’t tasted victory in a region game since 2019. But that doesn’t mean head coach Chris Rosales hasn’t seen improvement.
Rosales is now in his third season at the helm of the Warriors’ program. Despite some rough seasons, Roasles has watched many players work hard and develop positive attitudes.
“I am most excited to see how the kids do with competition,” he said. “Every year I have been here, we start to see more kids want to compete. And it's bringing the best versions of themselves out.”
The past few seasons in Class 6A’s Region 2 has been challenging for Taylorsville. The Warriors were 2-8 a year ago and 0-6 in league play. But the Warriors moved to Class 5A’s Region 4 this season. Taylorsville is once again in the same region as Hunter, Kearns, Cyprus and Granger but faces West Jordan instead of Roy and West, which finished 1–2 in Region 2 last season.
A new region may be a breath of fresh air for the Warriors, who are looking for their first winning season since going 7-4 in 2014.
Rosales is focused mostly on how hard the young men are trying and how much they are committed to playing as a team and getting better. It’s almost important to him that the players make the classroom a priority.
“My expectation for this season is for our kids to achieve in the classroom as well as the field,” he said. We hold both to a high standard. If our kids don't achieve in school, they don't get the chance on the field. Now for the field portion, I expect our kids to compete and give all that they can every game. If they can say they were better than the last game, then us as a staff are good with their effort.”
Wins may have been difficult to come by recently, but this year’s squad doesn’t lack leaders. Rosales also praised the players for their ability to persevere through difficulties and become the best they can be.
“I feel that our biggest strength this year is leadership,” he said. “We have eight captains this year who are taking pride in leading this team—and not only by words, but they lead by example as well. Next would be grit; our kids are constantly grinding on trying to peel back the layers and find the best versions of themselves. And it is very exciting to see when a player hits a new plateau.”
Junior quarterback Cole Kramer is one of those players Rosales highlighted. He completed more than 55% of his passes a year ago for 603 yards and seven touchdowns. In the first two games this season, he had 194 yards and three scores. Junior wide receiver and defensive back Kobe Allen, junior offensive lineman and defensive lineman Jacob Lee and senior linebacker Malakhai Peterson are others to watch. Rosales also likes the play and development of senior linebacker Manny Gustman, senior wide receiver Jack Billingsley, senior defensive back Brandon Bills and junior wide receiver and defensive back Karson Kirkman.
Rosales said some players struggle with believing in themselves.
“Some of our biggest challenges lie within themselves,” he said. “We have some great leaders, but we also have a bunch who have no clue how great they could be both on and off the field. I would say self-confidence, that's our biggest challenge.”
The Warriors opened the 2023 season with a close 24-21 loss to Summit Academy, followed by a 49-0 defeat at the hands of Chatfield High School in Colorado. Region play opens Sept. 15 when Taylorsville takes on Kearns. The final regular season game is Oct. 12 at home against West Jordan.
Whether this season meets Rosales’ expectations won’t necessarily be in terms of wins and losses. He’s looking for progress, development and growth.
“For this season to be a success, we need to put everything the players have learned, lifted and studied for on the field to achieve our season goals,” he said. “Now that's not all in wins. Success is deeper than that, and these kids are learning those life lessons now. We don't see losses; we see opportunities to get better, and we will be better this year.”