High school football: Bonneville Lakers 2014 preview

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13 2014 2:25 p.m. MDT

Bonneville Lakers 2014 football preview

NOTE: Bonneville finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2013 and was 1-5 in Region 5. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.

WASHINGTON TERRACE — The resurrection of Bonneville High's proud football program is well underway, and second-year head coach Jantz Afuvai feels like the Lakers are definitely starting to show some signs of life.

Oh, sure, he knows it's not gonna happen overnight. Bonneville struggled through a 1-9 record last year and has had just one winning season since 2004.

And that's been an awfully difficult pill to swallow for a guy like Afuvai, who played here during the glory years when the Lakers were a perennial region title contender and almost always participated in the state playoffs.

But he likes what he sees — from both a physical standpoint as well as from an attitude-changing perspective.

"With the guys that we've got this year, I mean, we've got some studs," he said. "I would put our receiving corps up against anybody in the state. We had our summer camp and competed against the big boys like Syracuse, Northridge, Box Elder and Roy, and our kids performed tremendously. I was really happy with how we competed.

"We've already superseded where we were at our best last year. And that's what makes me really happy is that I think we're on the right track. The formula is that we're going to pay attention to the little things to get things done. I'll stay firm on those things. And I think that, over time, that's gonna make the difference."

In the weight room, the Lakers' athletes have displayed tremendous progress over the past year. Many of them, though not huge in stature, have reached or surpassed their goal of 750 pounds of combined lifts on power curls, squats and the bench press.

"They might not be the biggest kids out there, and they might not even be the fastest," Afuvai said, "but these kids are in shape and we're driving 'em hard so they can reach their potential in high school. ... I'm starting to see the fruits of our labor now, and it's really paying off.

"The core kids that we have, we're gonna rely on those kids to get us back on track, and then hopefully start us back on a winning tradition here again. It's just gonna take some work."

Afuvai likes the dedication, unity and camaraderie he has seen from his squad.

"These kids work together as a team and they work together because they love each other," he said. "When we're here, we're a family. ... I'm so excited to see how these guys perform. I hope they all reach their potential, and I don't want 110 percent, I don't want 130 percent, I just want 100 percent — even if you mess up, do it at 100 percent. As coaches, we can't ask for anything else.

"I'm not a big moral-victory guy, but we prepare to win, and we prepare to win because we're prepared to reach our potential. And in order to do that, we all just need to do your job. I want to win as much as any other guy, and in order to get our kids to do that, if we all just do our job, we'll be fine. I know that we'll be successful."

Coach Afuvai is still trying to sort out who will be his starting quarterback.

"It's up in the air right now," he said, noting that seniors Tanner Buckway and Sealun Erskine are both capable QBs.

"Buckway is a point guard in basketball, and the best thing about him is he makes great decisions," Afuvai said. "He understands the scheme and he's smart enough to know what's gonna work and what isn't."