2013 high school football preview: Title-hungry Bountiful Braves aiming to go further this season
Coach: For the second-consecutive year Larry Wall is the longest-tenured coach in Utah as he enters his 29th season at the helm of the Braves’ program. He maintains a 218-102 record — all with Bountiful — including four state championships. Wall is a graduate of Viewmont High and the University of Utah.
(6 returning starters; I-back offense)
The Braves may be excited about growing options in the passing game, but running the football still remains foundational. With Brad Quick and Remmington Kelly anchoring the offensive line, replacing Deseret News first-team all-state runner Jakob Hunt is the main priority.
Houston Heimuli is slated to inherit the responsibilities of replacing Hunt, who ran for 1,538 yards and 22 touchdowns on 258 carries in 2012.
“Honestly (there’s) pressure,” Heimuli said. “Last year I had a bit of time, but Jake Hunt and Leka Nepote were two really great running backs. It makes me work harder. I feel if I’m going to be like them I have to work even harder.”
Heimuli’s father, Lakei, played at BYU from 1984-86, and ranks second all time in rushing yards (2,710) and third in total touchdowns (32).
In addition to personal training, Houston explained his father’s advice is simple: “Work hard; run hard; and leave your talking on the field.”
(4 returning starters)
Bountiful lost numerous contributors on defense, including Rylee Gautavai, Junior Hamilton and Jeremy Rock, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the defense is lacking experience.
The majority of the standouts on offense also transition to the defensive side, particularly in the secondary with Redding, Merrill, Lloyd and Hayes.
Curtis returns to hedge the run game at outside linebacker, and is joined by Max Latu, who moved into the boundaries late and didn’t get into the program in time for the 2012 season.
“Probably as athletic (of a) kid as we’ve got,” Wall said. “He’s got a lot of hop to him and is very explosive.”
Wall highlighted a pair of defensive ends, Taylor Gulbransen and Mitch Halverson, as unknown players that he expects to make a splash.
“Both of these kids are both rangy kids who I think could have a big impact for us,” he said.
Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: Third
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Third
Bottom line: As long as Wall is pacing the sidelines it’s hard to write off Bountiful in any game. The players buy into the philosophies, and respect goes a long way. The added depth in the passing game is a feature the program has been without for several years, but concerns about the effectiveness of a potential two-quarterback system are legitimate. The Braves appear interchangeable with Highland for the second seed in Region 6. If they can balance the familiarity of the ground game with the weapons on the outskirts, they could be a pesky out.
Felts Facts for Bountiful High School
All-time record: 363-239-8 (57 years)
Region championships: 11 (1959, 1964, 1974 co, 1975 co, 1977 co, 1981 co, 1990, 1999, 2001 co, 2002, 2010, 2012 co)
Playoff appearances: 37
All-time playoff record: 48-32
State championships: 5 (1979, 1990, 1991, 2002, 2003)
State championship record:5-5
Most played rivalry: 47 meetings with Viewmont dating back to 1964. Bountiful leads 27-21. Meet on Aug. 30.
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