Scroll to bottom of story to see Ben Lomond Felt's Facts
Note: Ben Lomond finished with a 2-7 overall record and was sixth in Region 11 with a 1-5 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
OGDEN — Bill Mierzejewski isn’t naïve.
He did his research on Ben Lomond’s football team before accepting the job as head football coach, but he wasn’t deterred by the program’s 19-81 record the past decade.
“I knew what I was getting into,” said Mierzejewski. “I’ve won state championships in football, basketball and girls basketball. I’ve got some experience. I see that my job is to captivate and motivate them. I think there’s athletes here. I’m not sure if they’re football players yet. But, I believe in myself enough to know we can do this.”
Mierzejewski has never coached in Utah, but he has 30-plus years of head coaching experience between Wyoming, Idaho and overseas in countries like Japan, South Korea and the Phillipines. His longest stint was 20 years at Kadena High in Okinawa, Japan, where he retired last October.
Since being hired in May following the sudden resignation of coach Don Kenyon, who needed to return to Nebraska to tend to an ailing parent, Mierzejewski has been pleasantly surprised. He said the kids have a good attitude, and they’re in pretty decent shape.
“These kids are ready to be successful, but I’m not absolutely sure points on the scoreboard are going to determine their success. I have expectations for this year, but I’m not going to tell them what they are until they’re ready to hear them,” said Mierzejewski.
So far, the kids like the positive attitude their new coach has brought to the program, which will be quite young with only about eight seniors.
“He’s brought a lot of confidence. He’s made the team really confident in what we’ve accomplished so far,” said senior Braxton Chapman.
To increase that confidence, Ben Lomond is abandoning the spread offense from a year ago in favor of the Wing-T.
Mierzejewski said the run-oriented offense is a great way to build the confidence of young linemen, which in turn helps the running backs.
“We will run a play to help a lineman block depending on what the defense is doing. If you can build a lineman’s confidence, he can hit the hole a lot harder,” he said.
Mierzejewski will try and feature his eight seniors as much as possible, which includes senior quarterback Austin Sullins and senior running back Chapman.
The offensive line will be anchored by a pair of juniors, Randhu Zavala and Keith Holman. Both are pretty quick and have experience at the varsity level from last season.
Andrew Short, Ben Lomond’s girls basketball coach, will serve as offensive coordinator, and Mierzejewski has a ton of confidence in what he brings to the table.
The same goes for defensive coordinator Stephen Gordon. An Arizona native, Gordon played for Urban Meyer at the University of Utah, even though injuries prevented him from making significant contributions.
Alberto Garcilazo and Mario Anderson will anchor the 3-4 defense at linebacker, but Mierzejewski believes in rotating players regularly to keep everyone fresh. He anticipates playing as many as 30 to 40 players each game.
“There are good football players here. There are good athletes. Most of my work is from the neck up. One thing they’ll be absolutely sure of: I’ll never quit on them. I’ll never let them down,” said Mierzejewski.