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High school football: Duchesne favored again in 1A North, but coaching shake-up at North Summit makes things more interesting

SHARE High school football: Duchesne favored again in 1A North, but coaching shake-up at North Summit makes things more interesting
Duchesne is the favorite in the 1A North region and the overall classification.

Duchesne was the runner-up in last year’s 2A state championship, but with the return of 1A football this year it is the favorite in the 1A North region and the overall classification.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

For the first time in many years, there might not be an inevitability about another Duchesne football region title in 2021.

Duchesne has lost just one region game in the past 11 years, winning the region title in 10 of those 11 years, including the past six.

Nothing has changed with Duchesne to think it can’t make it seven straight, but rather it’s about what’s changed for one of its opponents.

North Summit, region runner-up to Duchesne each of the past two seasons, made an interesting coaching change this offseason that definitely turned some heads. After a 10-year hiatus as North Summit’s football coach, Jerre Holmes is returning to the sidelines at Coalville in 2021.

He was previously the coach at North Summit from 2000 to 2010, with his teams posting a 74-53 record during that stretch and state titles in 2007 and 2008.

Since his departure the program has fallen off a bit and has really only been a state title contender once in the past decade, reaching the semifinals in 2013.

A coaching change alone doesn’t make North Summit a region or state title contender in 2021, but it certainly has created an interesting storyline to watch in the 1A North region this season.

Holmes said the passion to coach football never left when he stepped down to become the superintendent of the North Summit School District.

“This became available and they were kind enough to let me jump back in. I hope I still have the energy for it, I think I do, but 10 years is a long time. We’ll see,” said Holmes.

Holmes has been the girls basketball coach at North Summit the past five years and had a ton of success, but he admits duplicating that success in a different sport won’t be easy.

North Summit went 7-4 last year, and Holmes said participation this summer has been great as he tries to build on that success.

“I feel really good about what we’ve done this summer in the weight room. The kids have really responded. We’ve had great participation in the weight room,” said Holmes.

North Summit returns five starters on offense and three on defense as it looks to make a push at dethroning Duchesne for the region title. Another key in that quest for Holmes was getting Devin Smith to return as defensive coordinator. He was Holmes’ coordinator during the state titles in 2007 and 2008, and then followed Holmes as head coach from 2011 to 2016.

“It’s great to have Devin back. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise,” said Holmes.

Regardless of who’s calling the shots at North Summit this season, the internal expectations at Duchesne hasn’t changed one bit.

“I think our goal this year is to win every game and win a state championship. We have some tough preseason games right off the bat, and then we play a 3A team, Union,” said Duchesne coach Jerry Cowan.

The Eagles return just two offensive starters from last year’s 2A state runner-up team, but five starters on defense. Cowan expects to lean on quite a few sophomores to fill key roles in 2021.

Despite Duchesne’s recent region dominance, it hasn’t won a state title since 2016. It likely would’ve won a 1A title last year, but there was no 1A football last year as it competed up in 2A football which Beaver dominated the past two years.

It’s a realignment year for the UHSAA in 2021, which means the return of 1A football. Realistically, the only changes from last year’s 2A classification is the departure of Beaver and Millard, but the departure of Beaver is significant considering its back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons.

“We lost Beaver and I think we were all OK to see them leave, and I think they we were OK to leave cause they kind of separated themselves from everyone,” said Cowan.

For the other three teams in 1A North this season, closing the gap and competing with Duchesne and North Summit will be very difficult. Rich, Layton Christian and Monticello went a combined 4-24 last season, but there’s always renewed excitement heading into a new year and all three have reason to believe they can close that gap this year.

1A North projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)


1. Duchesne Eagles

  • All-time record: 286-215-1 (50 years)
  • State titles: 6 (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016)

2021 schedule


Head coach: Jerry Cowan

Entering his 14th season as head coach at Duchesne, which has been spread out over two stints. He’s amassed a 118-34 record during that stretch, including state titles in 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2016. He’s a graduate of Grand High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Cowan general outlook

“We lose a pretty solid group of seniors. We are going to be searching for replacements in some key spots. At QB we feel pretty confident in sophomore Parker Crum. He’s young and inexperienced but started at free safety for us last year and did a great job. Our returning fullback Westin Gines will be as tough as they come. He has a great frame and can run and hit with the best of them. Offensive lineman Jimmy Diaz is our lone returning starter up front. From there we have a lot of openings for competition. We expect a lot of guys fighting for playing time.

“Defensively we bring back Crum as mentioned along with Garett Fabrizio who had a solid year at corner. We may ask him to move to backer if he is up for the physicality adjustment. Ethan Park led our team in sacks so we expect more of the same from him along with his energy he brings. Branon Torgerson is an athletic big body (OLB/DE). He is capable of playing multiple positions and is willing to play where we need him most. Linebacker is our big question mark. We lose two great middle backers. Dusty Clayburn has a step up on filling one of those spots and a handful of other kids for the remaining spot.”

Offensive coordinator: Wyatt Gines

2020 offense: 30.3 ppg (second in 2A)

  • 2 returning starters.
  • Wing-T offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Jimmy Diaz, G
  • Westin Gines, FB

Key offensive newcomers

  • Parker Crum, QB
  • Garrett Fabrizio, WR
  • Cade Gines, Slot
  • Branon Torgerson, TE

Defensive coordinator: Justin Parker

2020 defense: 11.8 ppg (third in 2A)

  • 5 returning starters.
  • 4-2-5 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Branon Torgerson, OLB/DE
  • Parker Crum, FS
  • Ethan Park, DE
  • Westin Gines, DL
  • Garett Fabrizio, DB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Dusty Clayburn, MLB
  • Draker Goodliffe, DB
  • Cade Gines, DB
  • Parker Crum, DB


2. North Summit Braves

  • All-time record: 450-401-23 (95 years)
  • State titles: 7 (1964, 1972, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2007, 2008)

2021 schedule


Utah School Superintendents Association

Head coach: Jerre Holmes

Is entering his first year in his second stint as North Summit head coach, and 20th overall season as a football head coach. In his previous stint at North Summit from 2000 to 2010 he racked up a 74-53 record with state titles in 2006 and 2007. Prior to that he coached at Rich from 1991 to 1999 where his teams went 67-30, including state titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996. His overall coaching record is 141-80. He’s a graduate of Cokeville High School in Wyoming and the University of Utah.

Coach Holmes general outlook

“We have a group of motivated players who are excited for the upcoming season. They are working hard in the weight room in preparation for this fall. We are looking forward to the season.”

Offensive coordinator: Jerre Holmes

2020 offense: 22.5 ppg (fifth in 2A)

  • 5 returning starters.
  • Triple option offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Kale Hobson, RB
  • Kandon Mosher, RB
  • Ryker Johsnon, OL
  • Joseph Nolan, OL
  • Quinlan Woolstenhulme, OL

Key offensive newcomers

  • Crimzon Crittenden, QB
  • Carson Tholen, OL
  • Tyler Hirzel, Slot
  • Ryker Johnson, TE
  • Adam Hendry, OL

Defensive coordinator: Devin Smith

2020 defense: 10.9 ppg (second in 2A)

  • 3 returning starters.
  • 4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Kale Hobson, LB
  • Kandon Mosher, DB
  • Ryker Johnson, DE

Key defensive newcomers

  • Quinlan Woolstenhulme, MLB
  • Adam Hendry, DT
  • Tyler Hirzel, DB
  • Trace Richins, OLB
  • Bronson Richins, OLB
  • Ian Koyle, DB
  • Alex Ritzman, DL


3. Rich Rebels

  • All-time record: 214-166 (36 years)
  • State titles: 6 (1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2009, 2014)

2021 schedule


Head coach: Justin Groll

Entering his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater, posting a 3-24 record the past three years. He’s a graduate of Rich High School and Southern Utah University.

Coach Groll general outlook

“We have some good talent that is coming up as well as some starters that should be able to step up and be leaders. Defensively we will be strong and have a lot to work with. Offensively we will need to stay healthy because we will not be very deep at any position.”

Offensive coordinator: Cooper Cornia

2020 offense: 7.3 ppg (13th in 2A)

  • 6 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Riley Carrillo, QB
  • James Mckinnon, OG
  • Justin Adams, OT
  • Eli Brooks, C
  • Hayden Weston, OG
  • Ryker Conk, FB

Defensive coordinator: Glenn Smith

2020 defense: 32.1 ppg (12th in 2A)

  • 8 returning starters.
  • 5-3 offense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Hayden Weston, OT
  • Riley Carillo , DE
  • Justin Adams, DT
  • Ryker Conk, LB
  • Max Parry, CB
  • Trey Walker , CB
  • Eli Brooks, NG
  • Hunter Pace, LB


4. Layton Christian Eagles

  • All-time record: 61-109 (17 years)

2021 schedule


Head coach: Ray Stowers

Entering his first full season as head coach at Layton Christian after serving as an interim coach for the last two games of the 2020 season. He’s a graduate of Iolani High School in Hawaii and the University of Utah. Prior to taking the LCA job he was an administrative assistant at the University of Utah.

Coach Stowers general outlook

“With that last senior class, I feel like what they started when I came in, they really set the foundation to spring in what’s about to come this year. This year coming in, I feel like a lot of kids understand what I’m about, and trying to make a run for it this year as far as LCA football. Learning about the history of the last four years, me being the fifth head coach, football hasn’t really been a winning program so my job is to change all of that. It starts with this upcoming class. I think that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Offensive coordinator: Ray Stowers

2020 offense: 9.4 ppg (12th in 2A)

  • 7 returning starters.
  • Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

  • Tucker Prescott, QB
  • Tavita Pome’e, OL
  • Jeshua Koch, OL
  • Seisoni Felila, OL
  • Maliik Johnson, WR
  • Max Montgomery, WR
  • Monu Vaitaki, RB

Key offensive newcomers

  • Jessaia Moala, RB
  • Aiden Koski, OL
  • Eli Thompson, OL
  • Matthew Bailiff, TE
  • Connor Child, WR
  • Ilai Tagidugu, Slot

Defensive coordinator: Eric Ordonez

2020 defense: 27.5 ppg (10th in 2A)

  • 6 returning starters.
  • 4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Tavita Pome’e, DL
  • Jeshua Koch, DL
  • Seisoni Felila, DL
  • Maliik Johnson, FS
  • Max Montgomery, CB
  • Monu Vaitaki, LB

Key defensive newcomers

  • Jessaia Moala, LB
  • Matthew Bailiff, LB
  • Connar Child, S
  • Ilai Tagidugu, CB
  • Oaklin Sandoval, CB
  • Iverson Report, DL


5. Monticello Buckaroos

  • All-time record: 361-295-9 (68 years)
  • State titles: 4 (1969, 1992, 2001, 2004)

2021 schedule


Head coach: Reed Anderson

Entering his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater, tallying a 13-18 record in his first three seasons.

Coach Anderson general outlook

“We have some kids returning with experience and the biggest question every year is who can we find to fill holes. At a school our size you never know who can play what position as most kids can play wide receiver to offensive line. Working through the shortened offseason do to the new extended season will be a challenge. Not much summer to get things done. Like it is most years, if we can find a solid OL and DL then we can be competitive in most games.”

Offensive coordinator: Reed Anderson

2020 offense: 11.3 ppg (11th in 2A)

  • 6 returning starters
  • Spread offense

Returning offensive starters

  • Devin Hatch, QB
  • Logan Draper, WR
  • Tate Ramsay, WR
  • Landon Ewart, WR
  • Tyler Thayn, OL
  • Carson Wells, OL

Defensive coordinator: Art Adair

2020 defense: 45.6 ppg (13th in 2A)

  • 5 returning starters.
  • 4-4 defense.

Returning defensive starters

  • Logan Draper, S
  • Tate Ramsay, DB
  • Tyler Thayn, DL
  • Carson Wells, DL
  • Javlin Robison, LB