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High school football: Cyprus Pirates 2012 preview

Published: Sunday, July 29 2012 11:24 p.m. MDT

Dennis Kamakana III (Trevor Phibbs) Dennis Kamakana III (Trevor Phibbs)

Scroll down to see Cyprus Felt's Facts

Note: Cyprus finished with a 0-9 overall record and was 0-5 in Region 6 in 2011. It didn't make the 4A playoffs.

MAGNA – There’s no easy way to put it, quite frankly. Cyprus football struggled mightily last year.

The Pirates were outscored by 236 points in 2011 — including a 223-66 mark in Region 6 alone — during their winless 0-9 campaign. The travails prompted Cyprus administration to dip into the coaching carousel, bringing in Scott Wooldridge from Nampa, Idaho after six years at the helm of Nampa High.

Wooldridge’s hiring quickly sparked excitement around the community, spurring a large turnout for a padded camp in Idaho.

Jaxon Pettersson (Trevor Phibbs) Jaxon Pettersson (Trevor Phibbs)

“The culture at Cyprus: There’s a lot of pride in this town,” Wooldridge said while walking on the track during summer conditioning. “From what I understand the town comes out in droves to watch this team play on Friday nights. Win, lose or draw they’re here. We just have to put the school back with the community.”

The culture at Cyprus has already begun renovations with a “crew system.” Wooldridge separated players in groups of four or five players and throughout the year groups will earn points that potentially lead to prizes such as pizza parties. The system requires players to be accountable for academics, punctuality and effort.

“We haven’t had success. The culture of trying to find some success — sometimes that’s difficult to do,” Wooldridge said. “It’s all little things. If you do the little things right, the big things find a way into becoming good things.

Kaleb Schwalbe (Trevor Phibbs) Kaleb Schwalbe (Trevor Phibbs)

“All kids want to win. There’s not doubt about it,” he continued. “The kids are hungry to get going. We had a good camp. The kids started to come together. They’re great kids.”

The task of remodeling a program with new philosophies in virtually every aspect is daunting. However, Wooldridge isn’t concerned with anything beyond Aug. 17, directing his unwavering attention strictly on the season-opener against Murray.

"Right now it’s just Murray,” Wooldridge said. “Murray is our main focus right now. Our kids just have to come out and play football. It’s that old fashion thing — Xs and Os — and whoever comes out at the end with the higher score wins. Murray wants the same thing we do. It just comes down to putting guys on the field and hoping the coaches do the right thing and the players play well and we come out on top.”

Logan Smith (Trevor Phibbs) Logan Smith (Trevor Phibbs)

Cyprus Pirates at a glance

Coach: Scott Wooldridge enters his first season as the coach of the Pirates with 20 years of coaching experience including six years as the head coach of Nampa, Idaho. Wooldridge played his college ball at Western Oregon as an offensive guard.

Offense

(Zone-read offense)

Cyprus will primarily be a running team in the new system — fitting in nicely with the ground-dominated Region 6 landscape.

Dennis Kamakana III returns under center after taking over the quarterback reigns early last year as a sophomore. An athletically gifted runner, Kamakana should thrive in the read-game.

Marco Drozco (Trevor Phibbs) Marco Drozco (Trevor Phibbs)

“We’ve implemented a new system. He’s just picked it up right away,” Wooldridge said of Kamakana. “He’s doing the best he can and the best he can is pretty good.

“Leadership-wise, the kids look to him,” he continued. “He’s kind of a man of few words but when he says something that’s what he means. He’s progressing day in and day out as a quarterback.”

Also watch for running-back Max Bonifacio. With a dyed-green Mohawk haircut, standing at just 5-foot-5 and 114 pounds, he’ll inherit a much larger role this year as the premier back and return specialist.

“I just like to try new things and decided to be crazy,” Bonifacio said of his dew. “So, I don’t know if it affects anything — maybe aerodynamic?”

Max Bonifacio (Trevor Phibbs) Max Bonifacio (Trevor Phibbs)

“He’s powerful and quick. That 5-5, 140 pounds is full of power,” Wooldridge said of Bonifacio. “I’ve watched him at camp and he makes people miss. All of sudden you can’t find him and he squirts out somewhere. But he’s a power back; he doesn’t come down real easy.”

Defense

(Multiple-front offense)

Getting defensive stops needs to be the main priority for the Pirates. In nine games in 2011, Cyprus surrendered 30 points eight times, 40 points five times and a staggering 50 points or more three times.

With a new defensive staff and junior Nico Disera haunting the defensive secondary as a returning starter, improved numbers should be expected.

Nick Dunyon (Trevor Phibbs) Nick Dunyon (Trevor Phibbs)

Coaches preseason Region 6 straw poll: Sixth

Deseret News Region 6 prediction: Sixth

Bottom Line: Cyprus should break its 10-game losing streak — that’s almost a foregone conclusion. The Pirates are 4-25 in the last three seasons, with consecutive 2-8 records in 2009 and 2010 before last year's winless campaign. It isn’t unreasonable to believe Cyprus could top two wins in 2012, but more than four wins might be pushing it.

2012 Schedule

Aug. 17 — at Murray, 7 p.m.

Aug. 24 — at Tooele, 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 — GRANGER, 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 — WEST, 7 p.m.

Nico Disera (Trevor Phibbs) Nico Disera (Trevor Phibbs)

Sept. 14 — at Bountiful, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 — WOODS CROSS, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 — at East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 — HIGHLAND, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 — CLEARFIELD, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts for Cyprus High School

All-time record: 320-421-25 (86 years)

Region championships: 8 (1944, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1971, 1977 co, 1990, 2000)

Playoff appearances: 27

All-time playoff record: 12-26

Skylar Ward (Trevor Phibbs) Skylar Ward (Trevor Phibbs)

State championships: 1 (1944)

State championship record: 1-3

Most played rivalry: 73 meetings with Murray dating back to 1926. Murray leads 39-30-4. Meet on Aug. 17.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Although they haven’t played Bingham since 1992, the Pirates can claim one thing over the powerhouse Miners, a 24-21-8 series advantage.

Cyprus coaching history

2012-Current — Scott Wooldridge

2009-2011 — Brian Jacketta (4-25)

2000-2008 — Sonny Sudbury (45-52)

1995-1999 — Dave Peck (20-30)

Skylxr Tracy (Trevor Phibbs) Skylxr Tracy (Trevor Phibbs)

1986-1994 — Jerry Simonson (34-53)

1979-1985 — Billy Hunter (33-33)

1975-1978 — Don Conrad (17-20)

1973-1974 — Tom Crittenden (5-11)

1966-1972 — Glen Rupp (28-37)

1961-1965 — Howard Condie (14-28)

1953-1960 — Lex McKee (26-39)

1948-1952 — Roy Mercer (31-12)

1945-1947 — Unknown (13-8)

1944 — Bill Cowley (7-1)

1942-1943 — Unknown (5-8)

1941 — Gus Papanikolas (1-6)

Martin Banuelos (Trevor Phibbs) Martin Banuelos (Trevor Phibbs)

1940 — Ronald Sleator (1-6)

1931-1939 — Russell Magleby (23-37)

1930 — Glen Worthington (3-3)

1927-1929 — Unknown (5-10)

1926 — Mr. Walker (5-2)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2005 — Henna Brown, DB

2003 — Joe Ellis, OL

2003 — Daryl Brown, DB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.

Spencer Liaga (Trevor Phibbs) Spencer Liaga (Trevor Phibbs)

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

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