“I feel this team could go all the way to the state championship game,” he said. “We’re not backing down from any opponent. We just need to focus on getting better every day, and one step at a time, we should get there.” Thomas agrees with that assessment.
“If we can get better week to week,” the coach said, “then I think we can make some noise at the end.”
Granger at a glance
Coach: Cecil Thomas is in his second year at Granger after coaching four years at Cottonwood High. He had a 7-4 record last year and owns a 38-11 record in five years of coaching. A Louisiana native, he played at the University of Utah and coached at Weber in between the jobs at Cottonwood and Granger.
Offense (seven returners; multiple formation, no huddle)
The offensive strength is the size and experience of its offensive line. Anchored by future Ute Kenyon Firson, tackle Hyrum Tapusoa and senior Khyiris Luavai, the line should be formidable against any defense. Quarterback Zack Ashman will run the offense, and he has some talented receivers like Magdi Hakim and tight end Davion Jones, as well as tough, effective running backs like Kylon Pierre and Hakim.
Defense (eight returners)
Linebacker Kiti Houma returns to his boundary school after playing at Highland last season. He and Marshal Auva’a will lead a talented group of linebackers. Luavai will anchor the defensive line and Magdi will see time at defensive back. Pierre will start at corner for the Lancers, who have new defensive coaches this season.
Coaches preseason Region 2 straw poll: 2
Deseret News Region 2 prediction: 1
The team’s success could hinge on how well the players pick up the no-huddle offense. Thomas believes he’s simplified it and that the team’s commitment to it will make the difference. Granger has one of the biggest, most athletic offensive lines in the state, which will make running the ball a lot easier. Last year, Thomas said the team played a couple of games not to lose rather than playing to win. If the Lancers really do believe they’re capable of competing with the state’s best teams, there is no reason they shouldn’t go deep in the 5A playoffs.
Felts Facts for Granger High School
All-time record: 249-287-5 (55 years)
Region championships: 9 (1967, 1976 co, 1977 co, 1985, 1987 co, 1988, 1989 co, 1995, 1999 co)
Playoff appearances: 26
All-time playoff record: 13-26
State championships: 0
State championship record:0-0
Most played rivalry: 44 meetings with Cyprus dating back to 1958. Granger leads 25-19-1. Last met in 2012
Felt’s Factoids: Granger combined with Highland to set a state record for the most points in the shortest time: 33 points in just 55 seconds of game time (5 touchdowns and 3 PATs in the last 0:55 of the third quarter) in 1996. Lancer Fahu Tahi holds the career rushing yard record, 5,663 set from 1996-98.
Granger coaching history
2012-current — Cecil Thomas (7-4)
2011 — Alex Gehrke (6-4)
2009-2010 — Doyle Holt (4-16)
2007-2008 — Johnny Matich (4-16)
2004-2006 — Richard Grosh (8-25)
2000-2003 — Dan Eckert (11-30)
1990-1999 — Ray Groth (55-71)
1982-1989 — Mike Fraser (57-21)
1980-1981 — Gordon Hanks (8-12)
1974-1979 — Unknown (30-31)
1973 — Perry Gillette (1-9)
1967-1972 — Ken Griener (32-21)
1964-1966 — Jay Rasmussen (12-12)
1962-1963 — Carl Ebert (2-16)
1958-1961 — Don Rydalch (12-21)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
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