WASHINGTON TERRACE — The Bonneville High football team has a few reasons for optimism following a dreadful 2016 season that included just one win — a narrow victory over similarly-lowly Ogden.
First of all, East is not on the schedule.
“I’ve never seen a team like East before,” Bonneville coach Jantz Afuvai said of the Lakers’ former Region 5 opponent. “I’ve been doing this a long time. 20 something years of coaching high school. I’ve never seen a team like that ever.
“In fact, when we played East last year, my two trade films were De La Salle (a school in California) — and they beat De La Salle at De La Salle — and the team from Arkansas (Pulaski Academy) that hadn’t lost a game for a long time, and they rolled them up pretty easily.”
2017 FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
The difference between East and Bonneville was, in a word, extreme. East won 73-9.
“I was glad to see that they went 6-A,” Afuvai said. “I think that’s where they belong and that will be an interesting thing to watch play out to see how all those games unfold.”
Not that the newly-configured Region 11 that Bonneville now calls home will be easy, but Ben Lomond, Park City, Stansbury and Tooele were all in a classification lower than the Lakers last year, and Ogden has lost 33 straight games.
“The new region gives us new energy,” Afuvai said. “We have that kind of unknown thing going on where they’re excited to learn about who we’re playing against. Hopefully it pays off and we start doing some good things.”
One thing Afuvai doesn’t have uncertainty about is who will be suiting up for him. The Lakers return a plethora of players from last year’s squad, and while that might not seem encouraging based on last season’s results, Afuvai said they won’t be “wide-eyed” by the varsity stage like they were a year ago.
Bonneville’s group of returners is highlighted by a number of senior starters on the offensive line. Jeff Montague, Jaxson Laramie and Jake Kilts all return. Montague and Laramie are both three-year starters, while Afuvai said Kilts is at least a two-year starter.
Bronson Fox, a first-team all-Region 5 selection last year, returns at running back and Aaron Eberhard returns at wide receiver. Quarterback Jonah Nielson, who gained some starting experience last year, also returns. All three will be seniors.
Jaxson Sears and Joshua Tafuna'i return at linebacker, Kobe Davis returns at safety and Marcus Cutler returns at cornerback. Sears, Davis and Cutler will all be seniors, while Tafuna’i will be a junior.
Criddle also started at linebacker last year.
“Experience sure matters on Friday night,” Afuvai said.
BONNEVILLE 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(*Region 11 game)
Friday, Aug. 18: at Logan
Friday, Aug. 25: at Northridge
Friday, Sept. 1: Fremont
Friday, Sept. 8: Roy
Friday, Sept. 15: Ogden*
Friday, Sept. 22: at Park City*
Friday, Sept. 29: Ben Lomond*
Friday, Oct. 6: Tooele*
Thursday, Oct. 12: at Stansbury*
Wednesday, Oct. 18: at Box Elder
SUNDAY’S PREVIEW: MORGAN TROJANS