Note: Bonneville finished with a 5-5 overall record in 2018 and was tied for fourth in Region 11 with a 2-3 record. It did not qualify for the 4A playoffs.
WASHINGTON TERRACE, Weber County — The Bonneville Lakers are making moves. Specifically, the Lakers have moved up to the 5A classification this season, leaving behind the ranks of 4A and Region 11.
Region 5, Bonneville’s new home, is both familiar and unfamiliar to the Lakers, as it turns out.
“We were in this region two years ago, but that was when East and Highland were there and Farmington wasn’t built yet,” Bonneville head coach Jantz Afuvai said. “Viewmont was still 5A” — which at the time was the largest classification in the state — “or whatever it was.”
The opportunity is one the Lakers wouldn’t change, however.
“We are really excited for the opportunity to be in this region,” Afuvai said. “We thought we’d land with the Cache Valley schools, but I am happy where we are. We feel like we can compete.”
Making that difficult is the fact that the Lakers are one of the smaller 5A schools in Utah, if not the smallest, while many of their region opponents are on the larger end of the spectrum.
“They are bigger schools and we have to be one of the smallest 5A schools, but we are going to be ready,” said Afuvai. “We are going to compete. We love the challenge and we are excited for it.”
Ultimately, Afuvai and the Lakers believe they have the necessary players and experience to compete with the best of Region 5. Or more accurately, if they don’t have them yet, they will.
“A lot of the foundation is there for us,” Afuvai said. “Now it is all about if we can put all of those guys together and make a push. The challenge for us is filling in those spots where we don’t have a lot of experience and getting those guys game ready until they can catch up.
“We aren’t there yet,” he added. “I think getting them up to speed with the scheme, but it is more who do the kids work well with. I think that is what we are going to continue to work with right now.”
Bonneville Lakers at a glance
- Ty Stephens, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Jordan Mickles, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Jake Peck, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Trevar Koncher, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Dawson Fannin, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Brock Samuels, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Cole DeMille, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Alec Drake, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Aaron Carty, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
- Eder Bravo, Bonneville Trent Wood, Deseret News
Coach: Jantz Afuvai is entering his seventh season as the head coach of the Lakers. Through the six previous seasons, Afuvai’s Bonneville teams posted a 17-44 record, including a tenure-best 5-5 record last year. Afuvai is a graduate of Bonneville High School, as well as Weber State University.
Afuvai’s comments on new UHSAA RPI:
“I’ve got mixed emotions to be honest with you. I came from the old way, the school of thought where every year one of your team goals was to make the playoffs. I get that (the RPI) allows everyone to go in, but then it is like everyone gets a participation trophy and what are we striving for here? Then there is the hard part of how do we schedule our preseason games with the limited options you have. If you are only allowed to play one team that isn’t in your classification and there is no merit system or mitigating factor in playing someone (in a classification) above you, your choices get really small for travel and who is available to play. There are just a lot of things are out of your control. Then there are the arguments for and against, but I don’t think anyone fully understands the implications.”
Bonneville Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Lance Mimnaugh
2018 offensive production: 19.9 ppg (20th in 4A)
-- Five returning starters
-- Spread offense
Key offensive returning starters
-- Brock Samuels (QB)
Returns as the Lakers’ starting quarterback. Threw for 560 yards and six touchdowns (four interceptions) in 2018. Samuels completed 49 of 88 passes, for a completion percentage of 58%.
-- Aaron Carty (OL)
Is one of three returning starters along the Lakers’ offensive line. Will be expected to play a key role throughout the season.
Returning offensive starters
Brock Samuels (QB)
Aaron Carty (OL)
Cole DeMille (RB)
Dawson Fannin (OL)
Trevar Koncher (C)
Offensive newcomers to watch
Jordan Mickles (TE)
Jake Peck (WR)
Alec Drake (OL)
Eder Bravo (OL)
Afuvai’s comments on quarterback Brock Samuels:
“Our quarterback, Brock, is back and he finished the season for us last year. With him, we beat both region champs outright. He really helped us peak when we did.”
Afuvai’s comments on the Lakers offensive line:
“I think the most experience that we have is the offensive line. These guys have been three-year starters. They came over as ninth graders and they are well seasoned on Friday night stuff. We aren’t going to be the biggest team, but these guys work well and make their checks. They are probably some of the smartest linemen I’ve had in 25 years of coaching, which is exceptionally rare. I think our line will be the strength of our team.”
Afuvai’s comments on the Lakers’ skill players:
“Our least amount of experience is going to be at tight end, which is where we have usually had our most experience in the past. They are going to have to come in and rise up and get up to speed. We have some really good, fast skill kids that come back with experience, though. We are fine there, it is just our depth at other critical places and isn’t all that good.”
Keys for offensive success in 2019:
The Lakers have good experience along the offensive line, as well as a returning starter at quarterback Brock Samuels. Development of playmakers at the skill positions, like running back, wide receiver and tight end, will go a long way in determining if the Bonneville offense is a success.
Bonneville Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Jake Afuvai
2018 defensive production: 20.7 ppg (7th in 4A)
-- Five returning starters
-- 4-3 defense
Key defensive returning starters
-- Jake Peck (CB)
Racked up 41 tackles a season ago, including one tackle for a loss. Also blocked a field goal and forced a fumble.
-- Alec Drake (DE)
Is one of two returners on the Bonneville defensive line, along with Spencer Fetuao.
Returning defensive starters
Jake Peck (CB)
Alec Drake (DE)
Ty Stephens (LB)
Aaron Johnson (LB)
Spencer Fetuao (DT)
Defensive newcomers to watch
Eder Bravo (DE)
Jordan Mickles (DE)
Brock Samuels (FS)
Cole DeMille (S)
Aaron Carty (DL)
Afuvai’s comments on the Lakers’ secondary:
“At the (defensive back) spot we have some guys who played last year. Our corner, Jake Peck, has been a two-year starter, and he is going to be out there. He is really hard to run routes on. He is a big 6-2 kid, tall and lanky. He is a huge corner that is fast. We also picked up a couple of basketball guys that are just really good athletic kids and they are in the mix.”
Afuvai’s comments on the Lakers’ defensive line:
“We have a couple guys coming back who were sophomores last year, but they got good varsity experience. We are going to really rely on those guys to buckle down, as well as those O-linemen that we will rotate in.”
Afuvai’s comments on the Lakers’ linebackers:
“I have a linebacker who started every game last year, so we are good there. He makes sure our defense is ready to go, knows how to help our guys on scout film, what to look for and what is important. It is helpful when you have guys like that at key positions.”
Keys for defensive success in 2019:
The Lakers bring back a good amount of experience from a solid defense in 2018. The key to an improvement will come from development on both on the defensive line and in the secondary. If the Lakers are able to overcome a general lack of experience the defense may become the strength of the team.
Moving up from the 4A classification to the 5A classification will be a challenge for Bonneville. The Lakers have talent, at key places at that, in addition to a good deal of experience. If the Lakers can harness some of the momentum they found at the end of the 2018 season, they may make some noise in Region 5. If not, the caliber of their region opponents may be too much to consistently overcome.
Coaches preseason Region 5 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 5 prediction: Sixth
Key Region Game: at Box Elder, Oct. 11 (Week 9)
Aug. 16 — HUNTER, 7 p.m.
Aug. 23 — GREEN CANYON, 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 — at Bear River, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 — at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 — VIEWMONT, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — at Bountiful, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 — WOODS CROSS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 — FARMINGTON, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 — at Box Elder, 7 p.m.
Felts Facts for Bonneville High School
All-time record: 359-251-1 (59 years)
Region championships: 18 (1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1978 co, 1980 co, 1981, 1985 co, 1986, 1988, 1989 co, 1991 co, 1992 co, 1995, 1996 co, 1997, 1999 co, 2002)
Playoff appearances: 37
Current playoff appearance streak: 1
All-time playoff record: 36-36
State championships: 1 (1980)
State championship record: 1-4
Most played rivalry: 56 meetings with Weber dating back to 1960. Bonneville leads 38-18.
Felt’s Factoid: Bonneville holds the single-game pass interception record (tied with Judge) of nine, set against Viewmont in 1977.
- 2018 — 5-5 (2-3 in Region 11 - Missed playoffs)
- 2017 — 4-7 (3-2 in Region 11 - 4A First round)
- 2016 — 1-8 (0-5 in Region 5 - Missed playoffs)
- 2015 — 2-9 (1-4 in Region 5 - Missed playoffs)
- 2014 — 4-7 (2-4 in Region 5 - Missed playoffs)
Bonneville coaching history
- 2013-current — Jantz Afuvai (17-44)
- 2012 — Tyler Gladwell (3-7)
- 2011 — Randy Johnson (5-5)
- 2006-2010 — Matt Williams (21-31)
- 1975-2005 — Thom Budge (237-104)
- 1972-1974 — Brent Hancock (14-12)
- 1968-1971 — Larry Neves (25-11)
- 1960-1967 — Harry Burchell (31-40)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
- 2009 — Connor Stephens, DL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.