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Hard work paying off for Jaguars

Cody Brems was so sick last week, the West Jordan coaching staff wasn't even sure if the defensive lineman would even be able to play against rival Jordan.

So what did he do? He merely went out and racked up 4 1/2 sacks in a 21-10 victory over the Beetdiggers.

West Jordan coach Mike Morgan says it's that type of blue-collar effort that has sparked the Jaguars' 3-0 start this year.

"The key to this so far, we go out and play hard every week," said Morgan. "Last week in the Jordan game we were behind at halftime. (In the locker room), I could hear the kids really take on a personality I haven't seen in a while. They were getting after each other to perform better."

While the work ethic has been there, it doesn't hurt either that the Jags have avoided last year's injury bug and have come up with timely plays defensively in addition to possessing one of the most balanced rushing attacks in Class 5A.

Last year, the Jaguars won three of their first four games, but things quickly went south as three key starters went down with season-ending injuries. The injuries really limited the team's offensive production, and the once-promising season ended with a blowout loss to Cottonwood in the first-round.

So far, the run-oriented offense has been the team's strength.

Mike Meifu's 147-yard rushing average is fourth best in the state, while quarterback Ryan Wilson is averaging 63 yards per game and Anthony Tincher isn't far behind with 59.

The trio's contribution on defense is just as important.

In addition to the outstanding defensive line play of Alex Pederson, Meifu and Tincher have been excellent at linebacker, while Wilson has anchored the secondary at strong safety.

"Every week the defense has gotten better," said Morgan. "They've eliminated giving up the big play. That's a credit to our coaching staff."

When the Jaguars travel to Lone Peak tonight, they'll likely be getting involved in another defensive showdown.

"They're a very talented team. We haven't faced anybody from that region, so we're excited to see how we match-up against them. We'll have to play our very best to be in the game," said Morgan.

While there's no disputing that wins over Davis, Hillcrest and Jordan have led to an impressive 3-0 start,West Jordan can improve to 4-0 with a win over Lone Peak to validate its opening month of the 2005 season even more.

MISC. NOTES: Davis' Ryan Bishop and Logan's Mike Favero are each gunning for their 50th win . . . Jordan plays its 850th game tonight, the second most games behind West and Ogden . . . Northridge has won eight straight against Viewmont . . . Wasatch is seeking its first 4-0 start since 1982 . . . Grantsville is looking to avoid its first 0-4 start since 1979, while Clearfield is trying to avoid the same fate for the first time since 1989.

FAMILIAR FOES: East and West meet for the 106th time tonight, a rivalry dating back to 1914. East leads the series 54-44-7, including a 50-21 win last year . . . Pleasant Grove and Provo renew the oldest active rivalry in the state tonight. The schools have met 40 times since 1908, with Provo leading 24-16 . . . Delta and Millard meet for the 86th time tonight, the fourth most-played rivalry in the state . . . Springville and Spanish Fork meet for the 80th time.

UNFAMILIAR FOES: Five games tonight pit teams against each other for the first time. The most amazing is Ogden and Richfield. Ogden began playing high school football in 1898, while Richfield began in 1920, yet they've never played each other . . . Other first-time games include Bountiful at Copper Hills, Logan at Alta, Wasatch at Ben Lomond and West Jordan at Lone Peak.

PREPS ON THE WEB: Can't wait for the nightly scores? Log on to www.deseretnews.com/preps to see the scores as soon as the Deseret Morning News receives the information from the coaches. While there, check out your favorite high school's own Web page, complete with the state's most comprehensive standings, schedules, results and leaders.

ATTENTION COACHES: A reminder to home coaches to please call the Deseret Morning News with the information from your game as soon as possible after the final whistle. The newspaper's local number is 237-2161; long-distance is 1-800-688-2161. Coaches and statisticians are also reminded to e-mail offensive yardage statistics to prepstats@desnews.com by Monday afternoon for publication in Tuesday's paper.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com