High school football: West Jordan Jaguars 2012 preview

Published: Saturday, Aug. 4 2012 8:00 a.m. MDT

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Note: West Jordan finished with a 3-6 overall record and was fifth in Region 3 with a 1-4 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs

WEST JORDAN — Cameron Peacock was one of the top running backs in the state last fall, but looking back on his senior season last year, West Jordan coach Mike Morgan said the entire team did Peacock a disservice with as poorly as they ran the ball.

Even though the Dixie State signee approached 1,000 rushing yards, good defenses limited him quite easily.

The frustration of that situation has brought about change for West Jordan this year.

“There’s definitely got to be a threat. We didn’t even scare anybody,” said Morgan.

West Jordan’s base spread offense isn’t changing — quarterback Michael Moorehead will still throw the ball 30-plus times per game — but the team has spent the offseason working on improving the productivity of the running game.

It starts in the trenches with four returning starters, and then trickles down from there to Moorehead and starting running back Kaden Maddox.

“With the personnel that we have and all our running backs and fullbacks, we have a great running personnel. So we feel it’s going to be a good change for us,” said Moorehead. “Our new offense opens up a lot of opportunities for a lot of different players.”

The offense will have a bit of a Wing-T feel to it, but Moorehead will still be counted on heavily to throw the ball. He completed 57 percent of his passes for 2,120 yards and 15 TDs last year, even though he threw 13 interceptions.

West Jordan knows it will need to score a lot of points to keep pace with Region 3 juggernauts like Alta, Jordan and Cottonwood, and a greater emphasis on the running game could help shorten those big games as well.

At the end of the day though, West Jordan can run the ball all it wants, but it won’t matter if the defense can’t get stops. The Jags gave up 40-plus points in five of nine games last year. It started in Week 1 when Bingham scored 45 and the trend continued until Week 10 when Jordan hung 55 points on the Jags.

“Ever since I’ve started since as sophomore, I’ve felt like I strive off adversity. And I feel like this school every year we always have a tough region. That just makes us fight harder and motivates us,” said linebacker Spartacus Eason.

Morgan said Eason is as tough as any kid who's ever played for him at West Jordan, but the program just doesn’t get a lot of kids like that anymore. That doesn’t mean they can’t be successful and compete for a playoff spot, though.

“They’re typical West Jordan kids — just tough, not very big. They’re just hard-nosed kids, and that’s what makes them so good,” said Morgan. “These kids will make some noise. This group somewhere along the line will do something. I hope it’s near the end.”

West Jordan opens the season at home against Bingham on Aug. 17, and Morgan said that game will reveal a lot about the character of his team and how effective the offensive wrinkles will be. The Jaguars will be heavily undersized in the trenches compared to Bingham, but that’s where Morgan hopes to see the fighting spirit of his players.

After that, the tough preseason continues with games against Hurricane, Hunter and Pleasant Grove before diving into region play with Cottonwood.

West Jordan Jaguars at a glance

Coach: Mike Morgan has amassed a 66-68 record in 13 season as West Jordan’s head coach. He’s a graduate of Brighton High School.