FARMINGTON — And so it begins.
On Aug. 17, Farmington High will suit up and hit the gridiron for the first real time —no non-contact 7-on-7 camps — when the Phoenix visits Timpanogos.
The big question is what to expect from Farmington. Not a whole lot is known about the Phoenix, except maybe one thing.
“The one thing I’m gonna say, that I can guarantee: we will be the best-dressed team in the state by far. There’s nobody (who’s) gonna look better than us,” head coach Daniel Coats said.
The uniforms feature a matte black helmet with a silver facemask and three sets of uniforms: black, white or teal, with the latter being a predominant school color.
“(We’re) going to be a little bit like Oregon this first year and come out with a different uni set for each game,” Coats said jokingly, but also with a hint of seriousness. “I challenge anybody that we’re going to look the best.”
Farmington might look good, but history certainly doesn’t have a good regard for new schools in Davis County that field football teams.
In 2007, Syracuse went 0-10 in its first season. In 1992, Northridge went 0-9 and in 1977, Woods Cross went 1-8.
The deck is stacked against Farmington, historically, but Coats is someone who knows how and what it takes to win games from his experience at Northridge High and BYU.
Despite everything associated with starting a new program, expectations aren’t tempered at all.
“In my mind, ‘Oh maybe this first year we can just get by and we’ll be ready for next year…’ No,” he said. “We can go compete and through the summer, we have. If we put things together we could playing in November. It could happen.”
Seniors-to-be at Davis and Viewmont, the existing schools from which FHS is drawing students, got to choose whether to stay at their school or head to Farmington.
That’s why the Phoenix will field the equivalent of a junior varsity team with a few seniors sprinkled in.
But despite the overwhelming amount of youth, there’s some talent on the Farmington roster in key spots, Coats said.
Junior quarterback Wyatt Evertsen, who stands at 6-foot-6, was at Viewmont last year and played sophomore football. A brief glimpse at practice shows a couple things: an accurate, tight spiral and good pocket presence.
Coats is excited about junior Hayden Toone, who started as a sophomore last year at Davis, as well as the rest of the running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers.
At defensive back, junior Parker Frasure — one might remember him as the defending 5A state wrestling champion at 106 pounds from Viewmont — has also drawn rave reviews from Coats.
It’s a young, small trying to take in more new information and processes than other teams. Coats likened it to trying to drink out of a fire hose.
Meshing two groups of kids is one of the hundreds of challenges faced when starting a new program. But players say that hurdle was cleared very early in the summer.
“(Coats has) really stressed that every other program has been working, so we need to be right there with them so we can compete with other teams,” Evertsen said.
Another challenge is tradition. Farmington doesn’t have one because, well, it hasn’t existed in a working state until July.
Things like how a team runs onto the field, what chants are used in the huddle, and the pregame and postgame rituals are new and will be refined along the way.
“At Davis, there’s a tradition of excellence and defend the tradition and all that, but here there’s nothing really that we have, so we’re giving it all we have so we can set the bar high,” Toone said.
Time tells all and the clock is ticking down 7 p.m. on Aug. 17. Then, the Phoenix will step on the dark stage, the lights will turn on and the show will begin.
Literally everything. The stadium, the uniforms, the locker rooms, the scoreboard, the coaches, the traditions, everything is brand-spanking new.
First-season fun: While the last three schools to open in Davis County had a rough first go at football, it’s not always doom and gloom. Fremont went 5-5 in 1994 while Corner Canyon (Draper) went 6-6 in 2013 and Skyridge (Lehi) went 6-5 in 2016.
Key stretch: Sept. 14 at Viewmont, the school from where a lot of Farmington’s players will come from. It’s no doubt the most important game for the Phoenix and it also serves as the region opener.
It’s not all unfamiliar: Coats will face a former BYU football teammate in Week 1 (Timpanogos head coach Daniel Tervort), his alma mater in Week 2 (Northridge), the school where most of the Phoenix’s players were last year (Viewmont in Week 5), his former Northridge High teammate in Week 6 (Woods Cross head coach Andrew Fresques) and his former high school head coach in Week 9 (Roy and Fred Fernandes).