Under Afuvai, Lakers focused on little things

Aug 30 2013 - 11:22pm

WASHINGTON TERRACE -- Has the Lakers' coaching carousel finally stopped spinning?

Bonneville has a new football coach -- again -- for the fourth consecutive year with former Lakers standout Jantz Afuvai replacing Tyler Gladwell, a former Bonneville quarterback, who has returned to Davis High as an assistant coach.

Afuvai, who worked 19 years in Utah's Juvenile Justice Services, was hired in April. He has a glossy coaching resume with stops at Ben Lomond, Ogden, Weber and Bonneville.

"I never knew how important the head coaching job was until I got it," Afuvai said. "All I worked on before was schemes. I was breaking down offenses as a defensive coordinator the last two years at Ogden."

Afuvai will be the Lakers offensive coordinator.

"The best part of my day is practice," he said. "I was able to meet with the kids in the spring. It went great. I made a commitment to the (incoming) seniors that they wouldn't have another head coach here at Bonneville."

Today's non-league game versus Clearfield at Wallace & Thomas Budge Field is the Lakers home opener and it's homecoming, too.

The Falcons (0-1 overall) lead the series 19-17, and have split with Bonneville (0-1) the last two years after not playing in 2009 and 2010.

"We're more focused on the process than the end result," Afuvai said. "If you focus on the little things, the big things take care of themselves."

When former Lakers coach Matt Williams got into high school administration, Afuvai -- a seven-year assistant -- found himself without a job.

"I didn't want to leave, and I haven't seen what it is to make people leave here," he said. "These kids will battle to the end, and I can't coach that. I can't make plays for them. I put them in a position to make the plays. Then, it's up to them."

Bonneville committed four turnovers -- a pick-six and an end-zone fumble led to 14 points -- in a 20-17 road loss to Viewmont on Aug. 23.

"I'm not big on moral victories," Afuvai said. "What I saw Friday is what we need to be successful."

The Lakers are running the spread offense.

"We're using plays that are hard to cover for a defense," Afuvai said. "Anything I had trouble covering, I'm running now. Hit where they're not."

Kysen Hall, last year's JV QB, is the starter. He saw some varsity time in 2012.

"Coach Afuvai brings a lot of intensity," said the 17-year-old Hall. "We know he knows football, and now that the season has started he won't leave us. Our formations are similar to last year, but the plays, (pass) routes and blocking schemes are different."

Hall completed 17 of 24 passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, including a Hail Mary before halftime.

"We run to set up the pass, but if the pass is there I'll take it," he said. "Find out what they're not covering well and attack that. Don't get overwhelmed with it and just play assignment football.

"There were a lot of things I could have done better. I'm never satisfied," Hall said. "We learned penalties will kill you. Even with four turnovers, we were still in a position to win the game. I need to stay positive with everybody and make sure everyone knows their assignment."

Hall likes to scramble and run, but says he can sit back and throw it, too.

How will the homecoming hoopla affect him?

"It's just another game," Hall said. "Get better than last week, and hopefully win the game. We have depth at almost every position. It took me a couple of weeks to a month to learn this offense. I'm comfortable with it now.

"Our main goal is time of possession," he said. "If we control that, it leads to scores."

Afuvai says he was nervous coming in with just 13 seniors.

"Some of it has to be attrition, but we have a great junior class. Trust is the biggest thing. From day one, everything has been about trust. With everything that has happened, we're about where we need to be. I don't think we're on anybody's radar."

Week 2 games

(7 p.m. kickoffs, unless noted)

 

  • Layton Christian at Mountain
  • View Christian (Nev.), 1 p.m.
  • Brighton at Fremont
  • Weber at Roy
  • Highland at Syracuse
  • Box Elder at Layton
  • Hunter at Davis
  • Northridge at Olympus
  • Viewmont at Bountiful
  • Clearfield at Bonneville
  • Ogden at Westlake
  • Maple Mountain at Sky View
  • Mountain Crest at American Fork
  • Preston (Idaho) at Bear River
  • Ben Lomond at Juab
  • Morgan at South Summit

 

Thursday's result

 

  • Logan 24, Cottonwood 7

 

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