Note: Cyprus finished with a 1-8 overall record in 2016 and last in Region 6 with a 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.
MAGNA — Cyprus head coach Jed Smith sees a bright future ahead for his football program, even if it might not happen this year, his third season as head coach of the Pirates.
“Ask anybody around. Without question. For sure,” Smith said when asked if his program was trending upward.
The community of Magna has responded positively to Smith and his upbeat message as he tries to turn around what has historically been an unsuccessful football program.
“They’ve been very receptive, we’ve seen a lot of positive support, people have kind of jumped on board with what we’re doing, so to speak. It’s been a slow two years on Friday nights and things haven’t necessarily translated there yet, but we have a lot of people in the community that are seeing the moral victories that have happened, and I think everybody’s ready for that to translate on Friday night,” Smith said.
This season, the Pirates will be moving from 4A to 6A, joining Kearns, Granger, Hunter and Hillcrest in Region 2, a change that Smith welcomes.
“We’re going to be playing teams out here on the west side, which we’re really excited about, we’re excited about the opportunity we have to battle out here in the west and play some teams that we feel like we’re pretty similarly matched up with now that we’ve kind of retained our kids and have some good kids here and I think we’re going to match up pretty well with those programs," Smith said.
Cyprus Pirates at a glance
Coach: Jed Smith enters his third year as head coach of the Pirates. He is 3-16 in his first two years. He is a graduate of Rocky Mountain High School in Wyoming and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
Cyprus Offensive Snapshot
2016 offensive production: 13 ppg (25th in 4A)
— 4 returning starters
Key offensive returning starters
— Asher Pollock (WR)
Last season, Pollock was the Pirates’ leading receiver, hauling in 19 receptions for 206 yards and one touchdown. Pollock also rushed for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
— Jazey Drecksel (OL)
Drecksel stands 6’ 5” and weighs 243 pounds. He will be entering his senior season and will be a leader on the offensive line.
Returning offensive starters
Asher Pollock (WR)
Jaxson Garcia (OL)
Klayton Johnson (OL)
Jazey Drecksel (OL)
Smith’s comments on quarterback Parker Meldrum:
“We have an incoming sophomore that’s shown a lot of promise to this point. He’s a grinder, works hard, great coachable kid. He’s a kid that has a lot to learn, being an incoming sophomore, he’s young, but to this point he’s shown us that he’s fully accepting and embracing the opportunity that’s in front of him and he’s got a lot to prove and a lot to show and a lot of room to grow,” Smith said.
Smith’s comments on wide receivers:
“We didn’t really have any top receivers, we haven’t really had any top anything in the last years. (Asher Pollock) is a kid that did start last year and it was his first time playing football in a while and so that’s kind of put us in a situation where he has a lot of experience, but he’s really untested at this point,” Smith said. “We’ve brought Josh Amasio from the other side that we expect big things from as well, and we’ve got a tight end, Edgar Breton that played last year as well.”
Smith’s comments on Edgar Breton:
“Edgar has a 6’ 4”, 205 frame, he’s pretty athletic, basketball kid. Last year was his first year playing football, so high learning curve coming in. He’s starting to show that he knows how to play ball a little bit, so we expect him to have a great season and really contribute for us in the blocking game as well as the in the passing game,” Smith said
Keys for Offensive Success in 2017: With a new quarterback, the offensive line will be very important in protecting the QB and giving him time to throw as he grows in the offense. The veteran offensive line is a plus for Cyprus as they break in a new quarterback.
Cyprus Defensive Snapshot
2016 defensive production: 36.4 ppg (24th 4A)
— 4 returning defensive starters
Key defensive returning starters
— Alex Lanktree (S)
A year ago, Lanktree had 33 tackles and one interception. Lanktree will be the feature safety for Cyprus’ defense in 2017.
— Manny Ramirez (DT)
Ramirez finished 2016 with 34 tackles and two sacks, ranking fourth on the team. He is the leading returning tackler from last year’s Cyprus squad and will be a force on the defensive end.
Returning defensive starters
Manny Ramirez (DT)
Ammon Gasu (DT)
Hector Navarro (DE)
Alex Lanktree (S)
Defensive newcomers to watch
Jayden Christensen (FS)
Vaeaega Gasu (MLB)
Smith’s comments on Manny Ramirez:
“He’s our nose tackle and we expect a lot of big things from him. He’ll be a senior and so we’re excited about what he’s going to do,” Smith said.
Smith’s comments on Hector Navarro:
“He’s had a huge offseason, put on some pounds for his season, he works hard and we’re excited about what he’s going to do on the defensive line,” Smith said.
Smith’s comments on Alex Lanktree:
“He did a really good job as a starting sophomore, he’ll be a returning starter, he’s worked really hard in the weight room and I expect him to step up,” Smith said.
Keys to Defensive Success in 2017: Most of the Pirates’ returning starters come back on the defensive line, so getting to the quarterback and running back will be crucial to slow opposing offenses down in 2017.
Coaches preseason Region 2 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 2 prediction: Fifth
Key Region Game: vs. Kearns, Sep. 22
Bottom line: The football program at Cyprus High School is trending upward, but Cyprus is still slated to finish last in its region this season. The Pirates have a good group of kids but are still young, inexperienced and unproven. Replacing their start quarterback and two leading tacklers will also be a challenge for a program that has been historically unsuccessful.
Aug. 18 — at Grantsville, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 — WEST, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 — COPPER HILLS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 — at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 — at Hunter, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 — KEARNS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 — at Granger, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Westlake, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 — BYE
Felt’s Facts for Cyprus High School
All-time record: 331-459-25 (90 years)
Region championships: 8 (1944, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1971, 1977 co, 1990, 2000)
Playoff appearances: 27
Current playoff appearance streak: 0
All-time playoff record: 12-26
State championships: 1 (1944)
State championship record: 1-3
Most played rivalry: 75 meetings with Murray dating back to 1926. Murray leads 41-31-4.
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.
2016 — 1-8 (0-5 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)
2015 — 2-8 (1-4 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)
2014 — 0-10 (0-6 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)
2013 — 3-7 (1-5 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)
2012 — 5-5 (1-4 in Region 6 -- Missed playoffs)
Cyprus coaching history
2015-current — Jed Smith (3-16)
2012-2014 — Scott Wooldridge (8-22)
2009-2011 — Brian Jacketta (4-25)
2000-2008 — Sonny Sudbury (45-52)
1995-1999 — Dave Peck (20-30)
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)
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
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.