Note: Riverton finished with a 3-8 overall record in 2017 and was fourth in Region 3 with a 2-3 record. It lost to Weber 31-13 in the 6A first round.
RIVERTON — Change has been the only constant at Riverton High in recent years, and that's something first-year head coach Jody Morgan wants to, well, change.
Morgan is the Silverwolves' fourth football coach in five seasons — following three coaching changes in four years — but the former Herriman assistant hopes to settle his roots here and build a formidable program. Riverton was a steady contender under Mike Miller from 2004-14, but it's been inconsistent since he left and two coaches have come and gone.
Stability at the top needs to happen, Morgan believes, so Riverton kids will matriculate through the hometown high school instead of ending up at Herriman, Bingham, Summit Academy or the new school that's being built on the Herriman-Bluffdale border.
"I'm trying to build trust. ... We're a 100 percent player-first program," Morgan said. "I go to our little league and say that from 7 to 17 we want you to be Silverwolves. That's my goal."
Riverton administrators are backing him, too. The school has all new weights and will expand its weight room next year. The team also has new pads and helmets.
"These kids just need to see that this school, myself and my staff are going to do everything it takes to make it the best program available," he said, "so we don't lose (players) to a new shiny school."
Riverton qualified for the playoffs last year, but it was with a sub-.500 record so there is plenty of room to improve. The Silverwolves have about half of their starters back, and Morgan, son of longtime prep coach Mike Morgan (now at Granger), is working on getting the student-athletes to really buy into his vision.
"My kids, the Riverton kids, I feel like they just want somebody they know is going to stay here because when you have turnover like that it’s hard to build a culture," he said. "I’m telling them as long as they listen to me I’ll stay here for 20 years. As long as my message is still getting across and we're creating good young men and we're preparing them for life, I’ll be here as long as they’ll allow me to. It’s a great community."
Morgan has been impressed with the athletes, their parents and the school's staff.
Winning a state title might be out of reach in the near future — never say never, though, right? — but Morgan knows his players can do well if they show up consistently every game. His goal for them: "Just to compete." He saw a tendency in offseason competitions for them to step up against top-tier teams like Herriman but to let their guard down against smaller schools.
"No matter who we’re playing against what I tell them is they're silhouettes," Morgan said. "I don’t care the name on their jersey. We’ve got to play the Riverton way every time we step on the field."
Riverton Silverwolves at a glance
Coach: Jody Morgan is entering his first year at Riverton and as a head coach after spending the past three seasons as an assistant at Herriman. Morgan was the Mustangs’ offensive coordinator in 2017 after previously coaching the defensive line and special teams. He is the son of Granger coach Mike Morgan.
Silverwolves Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Taylor Pitcher
2017 offensive production: 20.0 ppg (15th in 6A)
- Seven returning starters
- Power Spread offense
Key offensive returning starters
Aiden Gordon (Center): He's the only returning starter on the offensive line, so his leadership will be needed.
Stetson Thacker (WR): Hauled in 30 receptions for 422 yards last season and is one of the multiple threats Riverton has in its skill positions.
Returning offensive starters
- Aiden Gordon (C)
- Blake Chapman (RB)
- Cannon Coggins (QB)
- Brandon Minson (G)
- Aiden Sluka (WR)
- Stetson Thacker (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
Coach Morgan comments on Aiden Gord0n:
“Our center is our lifeblood of our offensive line. He’s really taking on a leadership role.”
Coach Morgan comments on receivers:
“Our skill kids are all really talented. … We have some skilled kids that are going to present some problems for people.”
Coach Morgan comments on QB battle between returner Cannon Coggins and newcomer Dayne McDonald:
“Our quarterback is returning, but he’s in a fight with a kid that just decided he wanted to come out as quarterback, the starting point guard of our basketball team. (McDonald) decided on a whim that he wanted to come out for football. It’s between those two right now.”
Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:
Riverton has guys who can make plays. The big questions will be: Which quarterback emerges? And, will the offensive line come together with just one returner back?
Silverwolves Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Glen Page
2017 defensive production: 31.1 ppg (14th in 6A)
- Four returning starters
- 4-3 defense
Key defensive returning starters
- Tristyn Hymas (FS): Should be a key cog in the defensive backfield after making the switch from offense to help the team. He'll occasionally play WR.
- Nate Hamblin (DL): The talented baseball player also made the move from a different position — linebacker — for the good of the team.
Returning defensive starters
Defensive newcomers to watch
- Tristyn Hymus (FS)
- Isaac Rogers (D)
Coach Morgan comments on linebacker Nate Hamblin:
“We moved one of our linebackers and senior leaders down to the D-line to strengthen it — Nate Hamblin. He’s an awesome kid. He’s really accepted the role to play on the D-line and help us out.”
Coach Morgan comments on defensive line challenge:
“We’re just undersized. We’re going to have to slant and do things to keep people honest.”
Coach Morgan comments on lack of defensive experience:
“We have a two returning defensive linemen, we have a returning ‘backer and we have a returning safety. At each level we’re returning somebody, so that’s really beneficial for us.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:
If the defensive line can keep opposing linemen off guard with their quickness, it will go a long ways to helping Riverton improve from a defense that gave up 31 points a game last season.
Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Third
Key Region Game: vs. Herriman, Oct. 12 (Week 9)
Bottom line: The only thing consistent about Riverton the past few years has been change. The Silverwolves’ success hinges on how quickly they adapt to a first-year head coach’s program, but it could take a few years to gel.
- Aug. 17 — SKYRIDGE, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 — CORNER CANYON, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 31 — at Provo, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 7 — PLEASANT GROVE, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 13 — at West Jordan, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — at Copper Hills, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — TAYLORSVILLE, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — at East, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — HERRIMAN, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 17 — at Kearns, 7 p.m.
Felts Facts for Riverton
All-time record: 93-112 (19 years)
Region championships: 1 (2013 co)
Playoff appearances: 13
Current playoff appearance streak: 1
All-time playoff record: 4-13
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Most played rivalry: 16 meetings with Bingham dating back to 1999. Bingham leads 14-2.
Felt’s Factoid(s): Riverton became just the seventh school to rush for more than 4,000 yards during a season when the Silverwolves ran for 4,456 in 2010. The 2013 (4,449 yards) and 2014 (4,407 yards) teams also rushed for more than 4,000 yards.” And/or “Riverton rushed for a state record 657 yards on Sept. 6, 2013 (tied with East, which also ran for 657 yards that same night).
Last 5Comment on this story
- 2017 — 3-8 (2-3 in Region 3 - 6A First round)
- 2016 — 1-9 (0-6 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2015 — 2-8 (0-6 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2014 — 10-2 (5-1 in Region 4 - 5A Semifinals)
- 2013 — 8-3 (4-2 in Region 4 - 5A Quarterfinals)
Riverton coaching history
- 2018 — Jody Morgan (0-0)
- 2017 — Blaine Monkres (3-8)
- 2015-2016 — Brent Hawkins (2-8)
- 2004-2014 — Mike Miller (72-49)
- 1999-2003 — Rick Bojak (13-38)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
- 2017 — Cole Candalot, P
- 2014 — Simeon Page, LB
- 2010 — Landon Fisher, TE
- 2010 — Skyler Fullmer, LB
- 2008 — Zach Spencer, RB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.