_Note___: Herriman finished with a 6-6 overall record in 2017 and was second in Region 3 with a 4-1 record. It lost to Bingham in the 6A semifinals.

Herriman 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

HERRIMAN — The final overall record wasn't very Herriman-like, but the Mustangs played like the strong program they've developed into when it mattered most last season.

After making it to the 6A semifinals despite a 6-6 record, Herriman, three seasons removed from its state title, is looking to keep the momentum going this fall. The Mustangs will need some new guys to step up, though, as its stingy defense only has four starters back from the 2017 squad that was the fifth-best D in the classification.

"We have a lot of kids that are going to have an opportunity this year," Herriman coach Dustin Pearce said, "so this should be a fun, competitive year."

The Mustangs were picked to finish second in Region 3 behind East, so opposing coaches are expecting that from them, too. Everybody learned last season that records can be deceptive.

"We have a handful of kids that played valuable minutes last year up at the big show, up in the semifinals," Pearce added, "so it's just a matter of getting the other guys to buy in and be a part of that, too."

Defense should be the Mustangs' calling card again. The team only allowed opponents 19.3 points a game and have some talented up-and-comers to pick up the slack.

Pearce especially likes his defensive line and linebacker corps.

"Defensively," he said, "I think our front seven is very talented."

Offensively, Herriman is hoping to put the ball in the air a bit more this year to keep opponents honest. The Mustangs didn't score much more per game than their defense allowed, so they'd like to keep the scoreboard operator busier.

Though three of the past five Herriman teams have finished with a .500 record, this is a team that's capable of being strong all year long if the less-experienced guys develop quickly.

"I believe that the expectations and athletic abilities are there," Pearce said. "It’s just a matter of putting things together and making sure we can get this thing right."

Herriman Mustangs at a glance

Coach: Dustin Pearce has built a solid program at Herriman, including a 2015 state championship and a 6A semifinal appearance last year despite a mediocre overall record. This year should be no different as the Mustangs are expected to be in the mix.

Mustangs Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Jim Freeland

2017 offensive production: 19.7 ppg (16th in 6A)

  • Six returning starters
  • Pro offense

Key offensive returning starters

  • Blake Freeland (TE): Went through a growth spurt and has switched positions from QB to tight end.
  • Carson Castro (FB): Returning starter will play an important role in the backfield.

Returning offensive starters

Offensive newcomers to watch

Coach Pearce comments on inexperience:

“I have a lot of expectations, but they’ve got to grow up fast because they haven’t played a lot of varsity minutes.”

Coach Pearce comments on F.O.E. mantra:

“Family Over Everything. Since I’ve gotten the job here, my main emphasis has been to create a family environment. We care about each other just like we are family.”

Coach Pearce comments on QB battle between Jaxon James and newcomer Tyler Murray:

“I have high expectations of our quarterbacks.”

Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:

The Mustangs need to gel with quite a few newer faces, and they hope to air it out more this year for an improved and balanced attack.

Mustangs Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Chris Hathaway

2017 defensive production: 19.3 ppg (Fifth in 6A)

  • Four returning starters
  • Even, multiple-front defenses

Key defensive returning starters

  • Ngana Leakehe (LB): Junior has a lot of talent and can do damage to offenses.
  • Carter Pearce (LB/DE): A tough athlete who will be relied on to make big plays on a consistent basis.

Returning defensive starters

Defensive newcomers to watch

Coach Pearce comments on defense:

“We’ve always got to play great defense. We pride ourselves on playing really good defense here.”

Coach Pearce comments on his team in general:

“Nothing’s going to change here. We’re still going to be a downhill team, a physical team, play great defense and try to keep our offense on the field.”

Coach Pearce comments on outlook:

“I believe that the expectations and athletic abilities are there. It’s just a matter of putting things together and making sure we can get this thing right.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:

The front seven is solid so success will depend on what kind of support the Mustangs get in the defensive backfield.

Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: Second

Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Second

Key Region Game: vs. East, September 21 (Week 6)

Bottom line: This should be an excellent squad with a nice mix of returnees, young athletes, a strong front seven and several skill players.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Lone Peak, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — SYRACUSE, 4 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — at Bingham, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 6 — AMERICAN FORK, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Copper Hills, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — EAST, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — WEST JORDAN, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at Taylorsville, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — at Riverton, 7 p.m.

Felts Facts for Herriman

All-time record: 56-38 (8 years)

Region championships: 1 (2013 co)

Playoff appearances: 7

Current playoff appearance streak: 1

All-time playoff record: 8-7

State championships: 1 (2015)

State championship record: 1-0

Most played rivalry: 8 meetings with Riverton since 2010, Herriman leads 5-3

Felt’s Factoid(s): Herriman became just the 10th school to qualify for the playoffs in its first year of football (2010).

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Last 5

  • 2017 — 6-6 (4-1 in Region 3 - 6A Semifinals)
  • 2016 — 5-5 (3-3 in Region 4 – Did not qualify)
  • 2015 — 11-3 (5-1 in Region 4 – 5A Champions)
  • 2014 — 8-4 (4-2 in Region 4 – 5A Quarterfinals)
  • 2013 — 6-6 (4-2 in Region 4 – 5A Quarterfinals)

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Herriman coaching history

  • 2013-current — Dustin Pearce (36-24)
  • 2010-12 — Larry Wilson (20-14)

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Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

  • 2015 — Leki Fotu (DL)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2017 — David Fotu, DT
  • 2017 — Braxton Pearce, C
  • 2017 — Jaren Kump, OT
  • 2016 — Noah Vaea, S
  • 2015 — Stone Sagala, OL
  • 2015 — Peni Mobley, LB
  • 2015 — Noah Vaea, DB
  • 2014 — Andre James, OL
  • 2014 — Kalisi Moli, DL
  • 2013 — Brandon Farmer, RB
  • 2013 — Andre James, OL
  • 2012 — Tueni Lupeamanu, Specialist
  • 2011 — Francis Bernard, RB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.