2013 high school football preview: Herriman Mustangs move on with new coach, quarterback
Coach: Dustin Pearce is entering his first season as Herriman’s head coach. In five years as a head coach, he has accumulated a 27-19 overall record. Pearce is a graduate of Hunter High.
(5 returning starters; Multiple-base offense)
The Mustangs lost the only quarterback they had ever known in Tueni Lupeamanu at the end of last season, leading to a three-player competition — it is between two juniors and a senior — for the right to fill the position. After leading 4A in scoring with more than 40 points per game, head coach Dustin Pearce said whoever becomes the signal-caller will have big shoes to fill in terms of leadership as well as the more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns the QB contributed last season.
Senior running back Brandon Farmer will ease the transition. Pearce said the returning starter is a “quiet, humble kid who deals with difficulty very well.” He contributed more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns last season, which led to his No. 12 spot on the Deseret News top 20 players list. Conner Johnson is returning after a knee surgery and serving as the Mustangs’ leading receiver with more than 500 yards and four scores a year ago.
Senior Nick Williams and junior Andre James are back to anchor the offensive line. Both bring experience to the squad as Williams has been with the team since the school opened and James started as a sophomore. “If Nick goes on the offensive line, we’ll go,” Pearce said. “The sky is the limit for him.”
(5 returning starters)
Herriman was fifth in scoring defense in 4A a year ago, allowing just 15 points per contest, and with senior Ben Richard returning, Pearce expects more of the same. “Ben is our backbone on defense,” the coach said. “Since this school has been open, he has been a part of the program. There’s a lot of experience there. Ben is a kid that should be one of the higher-recruited linebackers in the state.”
Junior Kody Jarvis is a returning defensive back and running back who Pearce described as “the smartest football player I’ve seen in a long time.” Kalisi Moli, a junior defensive lineman, and Braxton Thompson, a senior tight end and linebacker, both return with experience on both sides of the ball to lead the Mustangs as they take on their new 5A opponents.
Coaches preseason Region 4 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 4 predictions: Third
Bottom line: While Herriman, which is in just its fourth year of existence, has so far benefitted from consistency in coaches and systems, the team is hitting a point where change is all around. The Mustangs are moving up to 5A this season while also looking to their first new coach and their first new quarterback. Pearce said that for the Mustangs to find success this year amid the difficult schedule, a strong on-field leader needs to emerge.
Felts Facts for Herriman High School
All-time record: 20-14 (3 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 3
All-time playoff record: 1-3
State championships: 0
State championship record:0-0
Most played rivalry: 3 meetings with Riverton since 2010, posting a 1-2 record. Meets Riverton on Oct. 11
Felt’s Factoid(s): Herriman became just the 10th school to qualify for the playoffs in its first year of football (2010). ... Herriman is one of only 11 schools to have a perfect home playoff record (1-0).
Herriman coaching history
2013-present — Dustin Pearce (0-0)
2010-12 — Larry Wilson (20-14)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2012 — Tueni Lupeamanu, Specialist
2011 — Francis Bernard, RB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.