High school football: West Jordan Jaguars 2013 preview

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 11:35 a.m. MDT

Colton Michaelson West Jordan

Note: West Jordan finished with a 2-8 overall record and finished in a three-way tie for third in Region 3 with a 2-3 record in 2012. It lost to Brighton, 14-7, in the Region 3 play-in game. Scroll to the bottom of the story to see West Jordan Felt’s Facts.

WEST JORDAN — When it comes to the world of Utah high school football, the name DuPaix is legendary.

And this year — just two seasons after former Skyline coach Roger DuPaix won his 301st game and then retired his position after 35 years of coaching — there is a new DuPaix in town.

Roger’s son, Danny DuPaix, is taking over the West Jordan football program and following in the footsteps of his dad, as well as those of many other family members.

“My grandmother was a teacher; my father was a teacher; three or four of my siblings were teachers,” the younger DuPaix said of what drew him to the teaching and coaching professions. “Everybody’s wanted to do it; we love to teach. We love to help develop youth. We love to work with young people.”

As for coaching football, however, that love developed partly as a means to spend time with his dad.

“Growing up, if you wanted to spend time with him during football season, you were watching film with him,” DuPaix said. “He had his whole audio-visual setup back in the day, and that’s what you did — you went and watched film with him.”

The West Jordan coach added that those informal sessions were important then and continue to benefit his team now.

“I learned a lot from that, and have some really good memories,” he said. “Those were times where he would actually tell you what he was thinking. A lot of times he would keep quiet, but watching film he would tell you exactly what he was thinking, and I love those times and grew close to him.”

As DuPaix moves closer to his own inaugural season, it would be nice to have his dad and his football mind close at hand.

“He’s in the Philippines right now finishing up his (LDS) mission. He’ll be back after this first year,” he said. “It’s kind of hard — when I need him the most he’s not around. But if I could talk him out of retirement to come help us, he would be next hire.”

Until that time, DuPaix has a group of players he is thrilled to work with at a school he is thrilled to be in as they come together to rebuild a struggling program that has a strong history.

“They’ve worked extremely hard in the offseason; strength and speed have gone up tremendously,” he said. “I know that type of kid that is here is the type I want to work with. That’s what gets me really excited.”

One of those kids is returning quarterback Colton Michaelson, a senior who stepped in last year when the starter was injured. Michaelson finished his junior season with 1,226 passing yards and five touchdowns.

“He stepped in and did a really good job considering the offense wasn’t built for Colton, it was built for Michael (Moorehead), and they’re two different styles of athletes,” Dupaix said. “This offseason, he really proved he wanted to lead this team.”

Alongside Michaelson are returning starters Ryzen Benson and Seth Gardner. Both play wide receiver and corner back, both are team captains, and both have gotten their coach’s attention.

“Two of the hardest workers on the team,” the coach said. “Watching game film on them last year against Hunter, some big running back goes to run them over and they hung on for ride and popped right back up. That’s who they are, and I like that leading this team.”