High school football: Juan Diego Soaring Eagle 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: Juan Diego finished with a 10-2 overall record and a 5-0 record in Region 10 in 2011. It lost, 21-14, to Spanish Fork in the 4A quarterfinals.

DRAPER — The Juan Diego football program was stricken with heartbreak in the offseason because of the death of player Adam Colosimo.

A two-sport athlete for the Soaring Eagle, the 16-year-old succumbed after sustaining injuries in an accident near the high school.

Adam, a 4.0 GPA student, was the nephew of Juan Diego coach John Colosimo. A vigil was head in honor of Adam at the school with players, family and friends.

“With the loss of Adam Colosimo this summer that certainly has been a big blow for us,” John Colosimo said. “It’s been quite a difficult time for us. We’re just trying to figure out how we respond. Our kids have been great about it. They’ve been very supportive of each other. There was a tremendous outpour of love and support at the funeral. I’m very proud of the kids for that.”

Juan Diego, a perennial powerhouse in the 3A classification, will honor Adam with his number stitched on their jerseys and emblazoned on their navy-blue helmets. John Colosimo explained the work ethic and dedication will be the true testament of honoring a fallen teammate.

“More importantly the legacy of Adam is what a good person he was and how hard he worked,” he said. “To honor Adam (would be) with our best performance every time we come out on the field. If we can do that I think that’s more significant than a number on a jersey. The kids responded by taking control, starting practice and getting into drills and being positive.”

The Soaring Eagle, which had won three straight championships entering the 2011 season, surprisingly experienced a premature exit in the quarterfinals against Spanish Fork last fall. Juan Diego was 10-1 before falling to the Dons and was expected to challenge eventual champion, Hurricane, for the title.

“I think it came a little bit as a shock. We weren’t expecting it, (but) we ran into a very good Spanish Fork team and that happens,” Colosimo said. “I told the kids they get one shot. The kids have been motivated. They don’t like that feeling in the stomach of going out early and they want to try to get back to the state championship.”

To the standards of the Juan Diego program, last year may have been considered a letdown. However, a streak of advancing to at least the quarterfinals was extended to 11-straight years.

Discussing the dominance of the program is unavoidable. During that same 11-year stretch — dating back to the school's inception in 1999 — the Soaring Eagle has amassed an overall record of 117-28 with state championships in 2002, ’04, ’08, ’09, and ’10.

The Draper-based school has also claimed the region championship every year since 2003 — winning 44 out of its last 45 region games and currently riding a 31-game win streak during region play.

Yet Colosimo picked the Soaring Eagle to finish second in Region 10 this fall. Even more astonishingly, he left JD out of his Top 5 teams in 3A. The “lack of confidence” might potentially be worrisome if you didn't know any better, but since 1999 Colosimo has not once picked his team to win region.

“Well, I’m a pessimist,” Colosimo joked. “I see our faults and I’m always envious of other teams and their players. I never like picking ourselves. I don’t know if it’s superstition or if it’s I don’t want to be prideful.

“I think Wasatch is going to be a good football team and we’ve got to go up and play them up there,” he continued. “They’ve got a very good coach (Steve Coburn) and got their quarterback (James DeLacenserie) coming back. I think it could come down to that game.”