Scroll to bottom of story to see Judge Memorial Felt's Facts
Note: Judge Memorial finished with a 7-4 overall record and was second in Region 10 with a 4-1 record in 2011. It lost, 45-21, to Cedar in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
SALT LAKE CITY — As the days continue to dwindle and the minutes progressively tick toward the first Friday night of the high school football season, the Judge Memorial football program is vehemently stressing the details.
“It’s hard to get ready. It doesn’t matter how prepared you think you are — you’re never prepared enough,” Judge coach James Cordova explained. “It’s a nightmare. It really is. Juggling the time restraints — we’re very diligent about getting the kids on and off the field. We’re such an academically competitive school that we have to have a two-hour practice and get the kids out the door.”
With less than a week until the opening endowment game against Tooele, the Bulldogs are busily focusing on themselves.
“At Judge we like to compete against ourselves. We want to put our best product on the field. We want to focus on what we’re doing and doing what we do right,” Cordova said. “What we do against the teams we face is a whole different ballgame but we still want to focus on us. We want to focus on execution, discipline and assignment.”
In doing so, the Bulldogs hope to try to reach some really lofty goals.
“Our first goal is to win a region championship. Our second goal is to win a state championship,” Cordova explained. “The reality is every team has those kinds of goals and aspirations. Those kind of stories are always told on the field — every team but one goes home disappointed.”
On the final session of two-a-day practices, the Bulldogs looked sharp — especially on the defensive side of the ball. For Judge, a program known for its high-octane offense, having a defensive unit it can rely on could potentially lead to a special season.
“Some of our best teams have been our best defensive teams. You got to have a combination. We had a tough time last year in a couple games stopping people. Particularly going into the playoffs at the end of the season, we had a tough time getting off the field defensively.”
Despite having stable production on both sides of the ball, Judge will still pride itself on playing “Cordova Ball” on special teams. The Bulldogs are dangerous in the return game, often setting up the offense in prime position to put points on the board.
“We always need more special teams,” Cordova said. “I’m a firm believer in special teams and we work on it. I think we work on it as much as anybody does and it’s still never where you want it to be. I think it takes three to five games to get your special teams where you want them.”
Judge Memorial Bulldogs at a glance
Coach: This marks James Cordova’s 10th season with Judge. In that time span he’s tallied an overall record of 54-50. He’s a graduate of Judge Memorial.
(3 returning starters; Spread-option offense)
Right now, Judge has yet to determine who will control the huddle. This shouldn’t raise concern to those following the program, however.
“I’m a believer in football players. If two football players step up and show that they need to play then they’ll play,” Cordova said. “If there’s a clear-cut guy — he’s the starter. We ran through four or five games last season with two kids in the preseason playing quarterback and the only thing that took the other one out is he broke his hand.
“If the competition is there then the competition is there. It’s the same if you had two strong safeties battling for the (same) spot. You got to give them both a chance to shine. We’ll let it see how it plays out.”
Juniors Kaden Ellis and Michael Perry are both expected to handle snaps throughout the season.
"They’ve both done outstanding jobs. (I'm) really impressed with both of them at quarterback,” Cordova said.
Despite limited production returning, Judge should be able to put up large numbers this season.
(3 returning starters; Base 4-3 defense)
The Bulldogs look extremely deep on defense this season. Although the size is lacking, the speed is vastly apparent.
“I think our defense is pretty solid. I feel really good about where we’re at defensively,” Cordova said. “They know each other. They play well off of each other. They’ve got the system down, so it’s exciting to watch them go. They’re a high energy bunch — they fly around — and that’s what you want.”
The linebacking corps will be the heart of the defense this season. Three-year starter Pat Neville inherited the middle after playing outside last year.
Sosefo Falemaka had 40 tackles and two sacks as a junior has the potential to be a lights out run-stopper this season.
Coaches’ Region 10 straw poll: Second
Deseret News Region 10 prediction: Third
Bottom line: The Bulldogs, at first glance, look to be a solid contender in Region 10. It’s a coin-flip at this point in time between Judge and Wasatch for the second seed. If Judge's defense lives up to the preseason hype, a return trip to Rice-Eccles stadium isn’t completely out of the picture.
Aug. 17 — TOOELE, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 — at Ogden, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 — GRANTSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 — at Granger, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 — SPANISH FORK, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 — PARK CITY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 — UNION, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 — at Uintah, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.
Felt's Facts for Judge Memorial High School
All-time record: 417-336-9 (85 years)
Region championships: 18 (1948, 1949, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 co, 1972, 1977 co, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1993 co, 2008)
Playoff appearances: 39
All-time playoff record: 50-30
State championships: 9 (1948, 1949, 1959, 1953, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1981, 1983)
State championship record: 9-5
Most played rivalry: 52 meetings with Wasatch dating back to 1926. Wasatch leads 26-25-1. Meet on Sept. 28.
Felt’s Factoid(s): JM holds the single-game pass interception record (tied with Bonneville) of nine, set in 1981 against Murray. ... Bulldog Mike Chambers returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in a 1967 game (also against Murray) to set a single-game state record. ... Judge is one of only five programs to appear in at least five consecutive championship games — 1969-73 (won 3).
Judge Memorial coaching history
2004-current — James Cardova (51-42)
2003 — Dave Livingston (3-8)
1997-2002 — Tim Clark (14-42)
1985-1996 — John Colosimo (50-81)
1978-1984 — Frank L'Etoile (60-19)
1966-1977 — Gil Cordova (93-39-1)
1955-1965 — Frank Klekas (72-23-1)
1952-1954 — George Melinkovich (15-8)
1949-1951 — Tom Mares (12-7-1)
1946-1948 — Bill Moran (11-8-1)
1943-1945 — unknown (10-9)
1942 — Paul Patten (2-5)
1941 — Wally Morse (0-4)
1938-1940 — unknown (0-11)
1936-1937 — Ken Larson (5-5-1)
1932-1935 — unknown (2-4)
1931 — Mr. Decker (0-5)
1929-1930 — Ben Lingenfelter (1-9-1)
1928 — Ralph Bodine (3-4-1)
1924-1927 — unknown (7-9-2)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2010 — Ben Cook, DL
2010 — Daniel Shiramizu, SP
2008 — A.J. Carman, DL
2008 — Keenyn Walker, SP
2007 — Tyson Moll, LB
2007 — Keenyn Walker, DB
2007 — Lewis Walker, SP
2006 — Jaxon Myaer, QB
2006 — Cort Dennison, TE
2006 — Robbie Webber, DB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company