With that foundation, we’ve done some really good things in the offseason as far as things like getting bigger, learning more, that I think are going to pay dividends on Friday nights. —Copper Hills head football coach John Teuscher
Note: Copper Hills finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2013 and was fifth in Region 3 with a 1-4 record. It did not qualify for the 5A playoffs.
WEST JORDAN — The day after the Copper Hills football team lost its final game of the 2013 season, the returning players got together.
They talked about their 1-9 season. They talked about what they wanted to accomplish and what they wanted their legacy to be. They set goals regarding what they thought the Grizzlies should accomplish during the offseason and in 2014.
“We really believe, although our record did not show it, we made a lot of quality steps in improving the program here at Copper Hills,” said coach John Teuscher. “We did make a lot of in-house, behind-the-scenes, really good changes and did some really good things last year that was not visible on Friday nights.”
Those changes, Teuscher said, laid the groundwork for a greater potential ahead of the Grizzlies.
“With that foundation, we’ve done some really good things in the offseason as far as things like getting bigger, learning more, that I think are going to pay dividends on Friday nights,” he said. At their gathering, “the young men committed that they were going to get better and improve on those things and that it’s time to start showing it on the field.”
So they spent the offseason putting in great efforts in the weight room and at team camps, committing that Teuscher’s second year at the school would be an improvement on the first.
“Everything should be better the second time you do it,” said the coach. “I fully expect that all aspects of everything we do are going to be better. I base that off of, we had a better offseason this offseason. Everything’s been better than it was before.”
Perhaps, then, the in-season work will follow the same trend. Copper Hills took a significant step forward in its one victory last season when it defeated crosstown and Region 3 rival West Jordan (19-7) for the first time in school history.
“Winning that West Jordan game last year was a huge step for this program because that was such a huge thing hanging over our heads,” Teuscher said. “That’s what makes high school football special, those rivalry games, and we’d never won.”
Now the coach and the team are using that step forward as a launching pad toward greater successes ahead.
“We made some strides, so a focus for us this year is to catch whoever’s next,” Teuscher said. “Now it’s time to move on and catch the next one, whoever that is, and that’s been a huge focus for us.”
Copper Hills Grizzlies at a glance
Coach: John Teuscher is entering his second season at Copper Hills, where he has accumulated a career record of 1-9. Teuscher is a graduate of Olympus High and Northern Arizona University.
(8 returning starters; Balanced offense)
Copper Hills returns significant numbers of starters on offense and, as Tesucher worked to get more players experience last season, an even greater number of players who have varsity game experience.
“I’d venture close to 30,” he said. “We’re not going to have as many first-time Friday night guys those first few weeks of the year when a lot of the sophomores and juniors and new seniors who haven’t played are looking around and, ‘Holy cow! The lights are on.’”
Included in that list of returning players is Will Unutoa, a senior who plays a tight end and wide receiver role, and Karl Kumpin and Daniel Sheehan, both senior wide receivers.
Entering fall workouts, Teuscher had two talented quarterbacks vying for the top spot. Seniors Andrew Wilson and Tanner Fox battled while working to prove to the coach why their unique set of skills were best for the team.
“The thing that makes the decision so hard is they’re not the same,” the coach said. “They both bring nice pieces to the puzzle."
Defense (8 returning starters)
Included in the large number of returning starters is three sophomores, all kids who started for Copper Hills as freshmen.
Alongside them are seniors Tanner Nixon, Dallas Brenneman and Drew Fagatele, a linebacker, cornerback and defensive lineman, respectively. They will each be key for the Grizzlies on defense as well as on the offensive side of the game.
Coaches’ preseason Region 3 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: The Grizzlies are working hard to make continuous progress, building a better and bigger program each day. With that in mind, the coach said the ultimate goal is to win games. Improvement is important, but that improvement will show up in the way of victories on Friday nights.Comment on this story
Copper Hills coaching history
2013-current — John Teuscher (1-9)
2009-2012 — Kai Kapele (6-33)
2005-2008 — Art Erickson (13-27)
2000-2004 — Mike Smith (15-39)
1995-1999 — Ron Halbertson, Jr. (7-39)
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.
High school football: Copper Hills 2014 preview
Karl Kumpin anticipates the 2014 Copper Hills football season.
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.