WEST VALLEY CITY — Hunter's Tevita Bloomfield knew he'd take some reps at fullback and tailback this season, but he really planned to spend the majority of his time on the field as a linebacker. As injuries shaped the Wolverines' lineup, however, he quickly became their weapon of choice.

"He got his opportunity and he never looked back," said Hunter head football coach Dustin Pearce after the Wolverines earned a 13-0 win against Kearns in their season opener. "He is faster than he looks."

Tevita's ability to scramble and stay on his feet got the Wolverines off to a solid start offensively. He rushed for 118 yards in the first half alone and finished with 135 yards in the game. The junior's abilities were a perfect match for Hunter's game plan against a young but very physical Kearns squad.

"We wanted to grind it out and keep it out of their hands, especially their quarterback," said Pearce. One of the drives was 23 plays long and consumed nearly half of the third quarter and two minutes of the fourth quarter. At the end of that drive, which included a thrilling third-down conversion (with 13-yards to go) by quarterback Brett Lunceford in which he avoided two tacklers and managed to gain 15 yards to keep the drive alive, the Wolverines had to settle for a field goal by kicker Jacob Bradshaw.

"We definitely need to get better in the red zone," said Pearce. "We've got to finish."

Still, he was pleased with how his defense played and how cleanly the offense played for its first test of the season.

"I told these guys it would be a head knocker and whoever made the fewest mistakes would win," said Pearce. "Very seldom do you shut teams out in high school. Our defense had some great plays. The defense should always be ahead of your offense at this point."

Kearns managed just 79 yards of offense against the Hunter defense, which included forcing two fumbles, an interception by La'au Tanuvasa, and four sacks. Hunter's only touchdown came at 6:59 in the second quarter when Lunceford connected with Bj Pulu on a one-yard pass play. After that, the two scores came from Bradshaw.

Tanuvasa said the defense just tried to give the offense some time off the field without allowing Kearns to move the ball much.

"We wanted to give (the offense) a break," he said. "This is way better than last year when we lost to them. It feels good to get that revenge."

Kearns had some good moments, especially on defense. Head coach Bill Cosper said one of the biggest obstacles his team is facing is it's own inexperience.

"We're just young," he said. "I start two ninth-graders on the offensive line. ... We had some things going early, but we're just young."

He was pleased with some of the defensive stops the squad earned and pointed out that about a half dozen of the Cougars are playing on both offense and defense this season.

While there was a celebration at the end of the game, both coaches and players understand there is room for improvement.

"It's exciting to win," said Bloomfield. "But we have a lot of little things we need to do to get better."

Bloomfield's father was the first fullback at Hunter High. As the oldest of the six Bloomfield boys, he's just enjoying the chance to play football.

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com