Note: Granger finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2016 and tied for fourth in Region 2 with a 3-3 record. It did not qualify for the 5A playoffs.
WEST VALLEY CITY — Granger High School and head coach Mike Morgan have one game circled on their calendar for the 2017 high school football season.
Sept. 15 against Hillcrest.
The first game of Region 2 play for the Lancers is the most important game for Morgan and Granger right now.
“I don’t know how other teams are, and I really don’t care, but our main focus is September the 15th, that’s when we open up region. To that point, we’re about preparing for September 15th at Hillcrest High School. That starts region. All these other games, these preseason games, mean nothing going toward the playoffs and making a run at it, and that’s our expectations,” Morgan said.
A big reason that Granger has been trending upward as a football program is the school’s willingness to hire good coaches for the football staff, according to Morgan.
“A lot of the difference and the reason why it’s improved here at this school is because of the willingness to get coaches in at this school that are teachers. Brian Jacketta, who’s our defensive coordinator, that’s made a huge difference,” Morgan said. “Our willingness for our principal to get teachers and coaches had made a huge difference because these young men, they’ve had coaches turn around for years after year. Dave Dunn, who is our principal, has made it a huge effort of getting stability and getting good coaches in here and teachers as well. I think that’s important.”
Granger Lancers at a glance
Coach: Mike Morgan enters his fourth year as head coach of Granger and 18th overall year as a high school football head coach. Morgan, a graduate of Brighton High School and Brigham Young University, holds an 11-20 record at Granger.
Granger Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Mike Morgan
2016 offensive production: 26.1 ppg (10th in 5A)
-- 7 returning starters
-- Double Wing offense
Key offensive returning starters
Mosese Sonasi (RB)
Last season, Sonasi rushed for 342 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.
Tee Tonga (OL)
Tonga is 6-foot-2 and weighs 260 pounds. He’s a two-star prospect, according to Scout.
Returning offensive starters
David (Tiger) Mulitalo (OL)
Tee Tonga (OL)
Mosese Sonasi (RB)
William Lokotui (OL)
Villami Lanier (OL)
Brian Reid (OL)
Hector Magallanes (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
Mike Gatti (QB)
Robert Tabile (RB)
Morgan’s comments on his starting quarterback:
“Mike Gatti, right now. He’s our main guy right now.”
Morgan’s comments on the running backs:
“Well, we’re a double wing, so our main focus is to be physical and it all depends what the defense gives us. Both of our halfbacks, both Mo Sonasi and Ammon Tavai are both guys that played last year and they’ll get a number of the carriers, but so will Robert (Tabile) at our fullback as well. Obviously, we expect to be physical.”
Morgan’s comments on the offensive line:
“Obviously it is (a benefit), that’s everything to our team, it all starts up front. You hear that all the time, but it is, it’s true. The most physical team will usually win the game.”
Keys for Offensive Success in 2017: With the entire offensive line returning, the key to success offensively for Granger in 2017 will start in the trenches. If the offensive line can do its job, that will open up plenty of holes for running backs to move through, leading to a successful double wing offense.
Granger Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Brian Jacketta
2016 defensive production: 22.1 ppg (10th in 5A)
-- 8 returning starters
-- 4-3 defense
Key defensive returning starters
Tee Tonga (LB)
Tonga tallied 15 tackles in 2016. Tonga stands 6’ 2” and weighs 260 pounds. He’s a two-star prospect, according to Scout.
Tiger Mulitalo (DL)
Mulitalo, who stands 6’ 3” and weighs 280 pounds, has been offered by Southern Utah University.
Defensive returning starters
David (Tiger) Mulitalo (DL)
Tee Tonga (DL)
Mosese Sonasi (LB)
William Lokotui (DL)
Villami Lanier (DL)
Hector Magallanes (DL)
Mike Gatti (DB)
Aamon Tavai (LB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
Patrick Fue (DB)
Siovaiata Oloapu (DL)
Robert Tabile (LB)
Morgan’s comments on Tiger Mulitalo:
“Tiger is one of the young men that’s been offered (scholarships). Tiger sets the example for the team. He doesn’t go out of the weight room; he stays here. He’s always about getting better, he goes to camps on the weekends. Tiger is a great leader for our team.”
Morgan’s comments on William Lokotui:
“William got hurt in the first game last year and returned at the end of the year. William has been great to have. The bottom line with Will is that he has to stay healthy. He’s been hurt, and he has to get in shape and stay in shape.”
Morgan’s comments on his strongest defensive position group:
“It’s definitely our defensive line.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2017: Just as with the offense, the key for defensive success at Granger High School starts in the trenches. The defensive line is the Lancers' strongest position group, and the D-line will make its presence known this season.
Coaches preseason Region 2 poll: Second
Deseret News Region 2 prediction: Second
Bottom line: With their core of offensive and defensive linemen returning, the Granger Lancers should be solid in the trenches. Granger will be physical and open up holes for their running attack. On defense, the Lancer pass rush will the lethal. Granger has the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs this season.
Aug. 18 — at Skyline, 7 p.m.
Aug. 25 — OLYMPUS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 — at Bountiful, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 — BRIGHTON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 — at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 — HUNTER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 — at American Fork, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 — CYPRUS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Kearns, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 — BYE
Felts Facts for Granger High School
All-time record: 262-315-5 (59 years)
Region championships: 9 (1967, 1976 co, 1977 co, 1985, 1987 co, 1988, 1989 co, 1995, 1999 co)
Playoff appearances: 26
Current playoff appearance streak: 0
All-time playoff record: 13-26
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Most played rivalry: 45 meetings with Cyprus dating back to 1958. Granger leads 26-19-1.
Felt’s Factoids: Granger combined with Highland to set a state record for the most points in the shortest time: 33 points in just 55 seconds of game time (five touchdowns and three PATs in the last 0:55 of the third quarter) in 1996. Lancer Fahu Tahi held the career record for rushing yards, 5,663, set from 1996-98, until Jordan's Austin Kafentzis broke it. ... A pair of Lancers hold state records: Sam Chapman recovered 10 fumbles by opponents in 1982 and Chad Bennett blocked 10 kicks (six punts and four PATs) during the 1995 season.
2016 — 6-5 (3-3 in Region 2 – Missed playoffs)
2015 — 4-6 (2-4 in Region 2 – Missed playoffs)
2014 — 1-9 (0-5 in Region 2 – Missed playoffs)
2013 — 2-8 (1-4 in Region 2 – Missed playoffs)
2012 — 7-4 (3-2 in Region 2 – 5A First round)
Granger coaching history
2014-current — Mike Morgan (11-20)
2012-2013 — Cecil Thomas (7-4)
2011 — Alex Gehrke (6-4)
2009-2010 — Doyle Holt (4-16)
2007-2008 — Johnny Matich (4-16)
2004-2006 — Richard Grosh (8-25)
2000-2003 — Dan Eckert (11-30)
1990-1999 — Ray Groth (55-71)
1982-1989 — Mike Fraser (57-21)
1980-1981 — Gordon Hanks (8-12)
1974-1979 — Unknown (30-31)
1973 — Perry Gillette (1-9)
1967-1972 — Ken Griener (32-21)
1964-1966 — Jay Rasmussen (12-12)
1962-1963 — Carl Ebert (2-16)
1958-1961 — Don Rydalch (12-21)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2013 — Kenyon Frison, OL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.