FARMINGTON — Farmington High’s football team knows all about slogans.
Last year, the slogan was “Start the Fire,” a reference to the school’s inaugural school year.
One of the slogans this year is “Same players, different team.”
One reads that and thinks, how can that be?
Then one reads that the Phoenix is 3-1 to start the season and six points against a defending state champion away from being 4-0.
The pass-balanced offense averages 34.8 points per game and the defense allows 12.3 points per game. Six players have caught at least six passes. Six players have a touchdown reception.
“We’re not a running team and we’re not a passing team, we can do both,” senior receiver Jeremy Wilcox said. “We’ve got so many skill players out there. I feel bad for teams that’ve got to watch film on us.”
Everyone from the quarterback to the receivers, the running backs, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, secondary and kicker are back and suited up for the Phoenix.
“Same players, new team, we’re the exact same team, we’ve just all trained super hard and we’re a completely different animal out there,” Wilcox said.
The other slogan: “Revenge Tour.”
By now, many people know the story of 2018, Farmington’s inaugural season. The Phoenix went 2-9, qualified for the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 5 and lost big to Skyridge in the first round of the playoffs.
Wait, isn’t Farmington too young of a school to justify a revenge tour?
“Revenge tour’s more for our region because we got trash-talked a lot last year being the brand-new school, then there was the (Phoenices) joke and whatever — we took that, this year we’re just planning on killing our region,” Wilcox said.
The experience worked wonders as far as turning on light bulbs in many players’ heads. The result so far has been demolishing wins against Timpanogos and Ridgeline, followed by a decisive 21-point road victory against a Syracuse team that’s suddenly vaulted into Region 1 title contention.
“There’s a difference between a good athlete just running a route and knowing why he’s running a route, and so I feel like that’s what a year of experience has done for us,” senior receiver Andrew Quinton said.
“Last year I had no clue, I was just going out there and running my route. Now it’s like, I’m seeing where they’re lined up and I know where the empty spot’s going to be where I can sit for (quarterback) Wyatt (Evertsen) to see. We’re a lot smarter out on the field,” Wilcox said.
Another big change is the play of Evertsen, a 6-foot-6 senior quarterback who has an offer from Snow College. Through four games this year, he has 13 touchdown passes, two picks and an uncanny ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage and get things to work in the offense’s favor, which has happened. A lot.
Evertsen’s nickname: The Sheriff.
“He’s a huge Peyton Manning fan, so there’s a little bit of that,” head coach Daniel Coats said. “Then the guys started giving him crap, ‘He lays down the law, doesn’t matter what coach called in the huddle, I just told you to do this,’ so it turned into, ‘Oh, the Sheriff said,’ kind of a thing.”
Last season, Evertsen faced pressure from opposing defenses virtually each play and hardly had time to throw, resulting in a 39.6% completion rate and five touchdowns against 15 interceptions.
Evertsen and Coats have come a long way the past year.
“To be honest, I didn’t trust him, he didn’t trust me,” Coats said. “I call a play, he’d kind of hear it and be like, ‘Well on this play you want to kind of read this to see that,’ and he was like, ‘I don’t see it that way,’ and we really didn’t have that trust with each other.
“This offseason we got to talk about stuff and I got to explain, this is why, this is what I mean. The slang that I’m using isn’t matching up with the slang that he’s using,” Coats said.
The offensive line is not only protecting Evertsen more and giving him time to throw, but the group is paving the way for a rushing attack that averages 6 yards per rush and 157 per game.
Defensive end/linebacker Brayden Wilson, who holds an offer from the University of Idaho, co-leads the team with 39 tackles to go with six tackles-for-loss and three sacks. The Phoenix as a whole have registered 23 TFLs, 15 sacks and seven interceptions.
“As soon as we were done with that Skyridge game, we were just super hungry to get to work. I think we knew that we were going to be pretty good, but I don’t know that we knew we were going to be this good,” Quinton said.
It is, as they said, the same players but a different team.
WEEK 5 SCHEDULE
GAME OF THE WEEK: Syracuse at Roy
Record-wise, Syracuse (3-1, 2-0 Region 1) and Roy (3-1, 2-0) are the two best teams in Region 1 and, at the moment, stand the best chance of nabbing a high seed come playoff time. Add the obvious region-title implications this game holds and we’ve got ourselves an intriguing matchup. If you want to see two of the top quarterbacks in the area, look no further than this game with Roy’s Jaxson Dart and Syracuse’s Bridger Hamblin.
WEBER AT NORTHRIDGE
Weber (2-2, 1-1 Region 1) gained 352 rushing yards last week, highlighted by 160 and two touchdowns by sophomore Logan Payne. The Warriors are one of the better rushing teams around, and Northridge’s (1-3, 0-2) challenge is to keep its defense off the field lest the Knights get worn out by Weber’s offensive line.
CLEARFIELD AT FREMONT
Clearfield (0-4, 0-2 Region 1) is looking for some sort of spark as it has progressively scored less points and given up more points with each successive week. After getting off the ground last week at Northridge, Fremont (1-3, 1-1) needs a win against the Falcons to remain in striking distance of Region 1’s summit.
DAVIS AT LAYTON
Davis (2-2, 2-0 Region 1) is off to a nice start in region play, not only scoring 44 and 48 points on offense, but limiting opponents to 14 and zero points the first two games. The Darts have the best defense in Region 1, allowing 11 points per game. Layton (1-3, 0-2) hasn’t defeated Davis since 2012.
PARK CITY AT OGDEN
Ogden (1-3, 0-1 Region 10) doesn’t get a break in region play as it welcomes 4A title favorite Park City (4-0, 1-0) to town. The Tigers are looking for some sort of consistency offensively and defensively, but a lot of that depends on if they can get healthy, which has been an issue so far.
VIEWMONT AT BONNEVILLE
This is the first time Bonneville (2-2) and Viewmont (1-3) will meet as region opponents since 1992. The Lakers are coming off an excellent game at Mountain Crest where they shut out the Mustangs 20-0 after halftime to win by 13.
BEN LOMOND AT
Is this the week Ben Lomond (0-4, 0-1 Region 10) breaks its losing streak? Or is this is the week that new school Cedar Valley (0-4, 0-1) gets its first-ever win? This may be a
breakout game for the Scots’ offense as the Aviators give up 48.5 points per game.
Logan Holgate is having an impressive year so far for Box Elder (2-2), hauling in 11 catches for 328 yards and six touchdowns. The defending region champions open region play with Farmington (3-1), which is the Standard-Examiner’s No. 1-ranked prep football team.
BEAR RIVER AT RIDGELINE
Bear River (1-3) is dealing with plenty of injuries to skill players, though the Bears do have running back Chance Udy back in the lineup. Ridgeline gives up 30 points per game.
Bountiful’s (1-3) challenge is to get its offense off the ground because A) Woods Cross (4-0) is averaging 32 points per game on offense, and B) the Braves have scored 29 points the last three weeks. This game will be televised on KMYU at 7 p.m.
Morgan High (4-0) and Layton Christian Academy (1-3) are off this week.