High school football: Juan Diego Soaring Eagle 2012 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 11:50 p.m. MDT

Scroll down to see Juan Diego Felt's Facts

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.”

Juan Diego Soaring Eagle at a glance

Coach: John Colosimo has built Juan Diego into one of the premier programs with the best winning percentage in the state of Utah at .807. As the only coach in the short but illustrious history of the school, he’s piled up a 117-28 record in 13 years. He’s a graduate of Judge High and in 25 years of coaching he sports a 163-103 overall record.

Offense

(6 returning starters; Flex-bone offense)

Juan Diego will certainly be in great shape offensively. The Soaring Eagle returns three offensive linemen, two receivers, their tight end and — most importantly — quarterback Nick Markosian.

Markosian took the reins behind center midway through the 2011 season to orchestrate one of the deadliest arsenals in the 3A classification.

“He just got better and better as the season went on,” Colosimo said of Markosian. “He’s taken on that role as (the) leader and we’re really excited to have him in that position.”

Markosian will have ample time to make proper decisions with an offensive line that stretches 12-deep.

“It’s a real battle at offensive line. We’ve got three O-linemen coming back and there’s a lot of kids battling for spots,” Colosimo said. “It’s going to be a war to determine those five spots and there’s no guarantee (the) three returns are going to start either — they better strap it up.

“I’m very excited about the possibility of our offensive line being one of the best we’ve ever had.”

As a running team, the Soaring Eagle lack the experience for comfort, but as Colosimo explained the talent is there — it's just a matter of putting the right pieces in the right places.

Defense

(4 returning starters; Base 5-2 defense)

Juan Diego once again will be near or atop 3A in defensive production with one of the best linebacking duos in any classification.

Dakota Cox, already committed to Cincinnati, has 92 tackles and two interceptions in 2011. His partner in crime, Walter Kauhaahaa — a powerful but quick 6-foot, 220-pound 'backer — has an offer from Arizona.

Jeff Ika, a three-year starter, will once again plug the defense at nose guard while Cole Nelson — only a junior — returns again at safety.

“The heart of our defense,” Colomiso said in reference to five players scattered at each level of the defense. “We turn everything back into those guys. They make the majority of our tackles.”

Coaches Region 10 straw poll: First

Deseret News Region 10 prediction: First

Bottom line: What are the chances someone else wins region this season? To quote "Dumb and Dumber:" "'Hit me with it. Just give it to me straight. Like one out of a hundred?' 'I’d say more like one out of a million.' 'So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?'" Yes, technically, crazier things have happened in high school football, but the odds of Juan Diego not repeating as region champions are slim to none. At this juncture, the Soaring Eagle is more concerned with righting last year’s wrong (losing in the postseason) and making it back to the state championship game. Juan Diego is motivated, talented and a sixth 3A title is well within reach.

2012 Schedule

Aug. 17 — at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.

Aug. 24 — MANTI, 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 — at Springville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 — at Granger, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 — at Union, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 — UINTAH, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 — PARK CITY, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 — JUDGE MEMORIAL, 7 p.m.

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Felts Facts for Juan Diego High School

All-time record: 117-28 (12 years)

Region championships: 9 (2003, 2004, 2005 co, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)

Playoff appearances: 11

All-time playoff record: 24-6

State championships: 5 (2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010)

State championship record: 5-1

Most played rivalry: 13 meetings with Judge Memorial dating back to 2001. Juan Diego leads 9-4. Meet on Oct. 19.

Felt’s Factoid(s): JD has the best all-time winning percentage in the state at .807.… It’s also one of five teams in state history to have a 14-0 record (2008).

Juan Diego coaching history

2000-current — John Colosimo (117-28)

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Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

2010 — Taylor Cassita, LB

2008 — Jamie Markosian, RB/DT

2004 — Marquis Wilson, WR

2002 — Chad Vaculin, QB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2011 — Jared McCauley, OL

2011 — Ryan McCauley, DL

2011 — Dakota Cox, LB

2010 — Oliver Weight, DB

2010 — Eric Heinz, TE

2010 — JalinAmes, OL

2009 — Cody Stevenson, QB

2009 — Christian Ika, OL/DL

2009 — Tana Vea, RB/DB

2009 — Keegan Andersen, WR/DB

2009 — Frank Sutera, DB

2009 — Junior Latu, DL

2009 — Trevor McFalls, TE/DL

2008 — Brian May, QB

2008 — Tyler Morales, RB

2008 — Tyler Bauman, TE

2008 — Jacob Doughty, LB

2007 — Vince Romero, LB

2006 — Tom Schweiger, DL

2006 — Mychal Robinson, DB

2004 — Zack Horrocks, RB

2004 — Trevor Wright, DL

2004 — Garry Hrechkosy, DL

2004 — Brian Bauman, LB

2003 — Chad Vaculin, QB

2003 — Marquis Wilson, WR

2003 — Chris Heffernan, OL

2003 — Doug VanCouwenberghe, OL

2003 — TevitaKefu, TE

2002 — James Rosenbury, RB

2002 — Terrel Bell, RB

2002 — TevitaKefu, TE

2002 — Nick Lozano, OL

2002 — Mike Buchmann, K

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.

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