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High school football: Morgan Trojans 2020 preview

Here’s an in-depth look at the Morgan Trojans football team heading into the 2020 season.

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Note: Morgan finished with a 12-1 overall record in 2019 and was second in Region 13 with a 4-1 record. It was RPI seed No. 5 in the 3A playoffs and defeated Juab 8-0 in the championship. 


SANDY — The Morgan Trojans couldn’t have asked for a better 2019 season.

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Head coach: Jared Barlow

Takes over as head coach for Morgan after spending the past 15 years as an assistant coach. He’s a graduate of Morgan High School and Weber State.

Sure they could have been more consistent on offense, especially in the playoffs. They could have avoided the injury bug a little more. They could have actually won the Region 13 title. Any time you walk away state champions, though, those lesser concerns fade away, understandably so.

Fresh off the state title, the Trojans are once again expected to be one of the premier teams in the 3A classification. And they don’t shy away from the expectations.

“I think their expectation is they expect to win,” Morgan head coach Jared Barlow said.

The Trojans expect to win the right way, though, by keeping to the culture of Morgan football, and that means there is less a discussion of region titles and state championships and more about simply controlling what can be controlled.

“They want to do the right things to be successful,” said Barlow. “Last year we struggled offensively quite a few times, especially in the playoffs, but because of the mentality and culture that we have developed — where everyone has to do their part and the little things matter — we were successful. There is not really a lot of talk of ‘we want to win a state championship’ or ‘we want to win a region championship.’ The focus is on controlling what we can control and there are a lot of things we can’t control right now. So we are focused on controlling those things that we can and staying focused on those things we need to do as a team to be better.”

Getting better will be a challenge, as the Trojans return only five starters from last season, two on offense and three on defense. One of those defenders, Ryder Lish, is going to be the team’s starting quarterback after starting at free safety a season ago. 

Despite the team’s relative inexperience, Barlow is confident the Trjoans are built for success going forward.

“Obviously we lost quite a few seniors from last year,” he said, “but we do still have a good handful of underclassmen who played pretty significant roles. Those kids have taken a really good leadership role. They’ve mentored and helped the underclassmen who didn’t get a lot of playing time or didn’t start and helped them understand what it takes to be successful. That has been really good. We can be really young, because we have a really talented sophomore group, but the way they’ve worked with the juniors and seniors, I’ve been really impressed.”

Which means Morgan should once again be counted among the best that 3A has to offer.


Morgan Trojans at a glance

Barlow’s thoughts on how his players dealt with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“As far as the spring, they shut us down, so we really couldn’t do anything together as a team aside from sending things out to them. We gave them workouts to do on their own, things like that. Everything we did was virtually. It wasn’t my preferred choice of getting things done.

“When we were able to come back, like a lot of the other schools, we had to divide into groups and rotate around just to keep the groups small so everyone wasn’t together. We had to wear masks in the weight room, things like that. Once again, not the best way, but that way we were able to still get some work done.

“We were able to hold our camp, so we spent a week doing our team camp at the high school. It was really good for the kids. The biggest thing I’ve seen through this whole thing is the emotional and mental stress this has put on people. To have some sense of normalcy was really a relief for a lot of people, for everyone to be there and be together and do some of the things we are used to doing. Spending that time together was a really big boost emotionally for a lot of people.”

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2020 schedule


Aug. 14 — RIDGELINE, 7 p.m.

Aug. 21 — at Bear River, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — SNOW CANYON, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 — at Green Canyon, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — at Summit Academy, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.

Oct. 8 — SOUTH SUMMIT, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 — GRANTSVILLE, 7 p.m.

Morgan offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: John Millward

2019 offense: 30.5 ppg (sixth in 3A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • Two returning starters
  • Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Ryker Keele (OL)
  • Morgan Garner (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Ryder Lish (QB)
  • Jarron Savage (WR)
  • Robby Cameron (WR)
  • Zach Millward (WR)
  • Tanner Belinski (RB)
  • Howie Long (OL)
Barlow’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“The biggest thing is execution. Last year we had a lot of opportunities on offense, we just didn’t take care of those opportunities, so the biggest thing for us this year is execution. Having those two returners on the offensive line is going to help, with cohesiveness.”


Morgan defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Matt Larsen

2019 defense: 8.5 ppg (first in 3A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • Three returning starters
  • 3-4 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Ryder Lish (DB)
  • Sam Hansen (DB)
  • Klint Love (LB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Keaton Player (NT)
  • Ty Wheeler (DB)
  • Lance Moore (DE)
Barlow’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“The key has always been the belief in the system and understanding what you are supposed to do. That is what the team last year did really well. They understood what they were supposed to do and trusted each other. Like any defense, the key is up front with those front guys and I think we have a group that can do it.”

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Coaches preseason Region 13 straw poll
  1. Morgan
  2. Juan Diego
  3. Summit Academy
  4. Grantsville
  5. South Summit

Deseret News outlook for 2020

Expectations are always high at Morgan, and 2020 will be no different. The Trojans lost the majority of their starters from their state championship team, but in recent years the program has been more about reloading than rebuilding, and this year should be no different. Expect Morgan to contend for the Region 13 crown again, to say nothing of the state championship. There are unknowns, with important players changing positions and new starters across the board, but after winning 47 of their last 61 games, the defending 3A champs get the benefit of the doubt.


Felt’s Facts for Morgan

  • All-time record: 486-338-22 (92 years)

  • Region championships: 24 (1930 co, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1975 co, 1976, 1977 co, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1989, 1991 co, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005 co, 2008, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Playoff appearances: 52
  • All-time playoff record: 58-45

  • State championships: 7 (1940, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1997, 2019)

  • State championship record: 7-6

  • Most played rivalry: 83 meetings with Wasatch dating back to 1928. Wasatch leads 50-31-2.


Last five seasons

  • 2019 — 12-1 (4-1 in Region 13 — 3A champions)
  • 2018 — 8-3 (5-0 in 3A North — 3A semifinals)
  • 2017 — 9-3 (5-0 in 3A North — 3A runner-up)
  • 2016 — 8-4 (5-0 in 3A North — 3A semifinals)
  • 2015 — 10-3 (4-1 in 3A North — 3A runner-up)

Morgan coaching history


  • 2020 — Jared Barlow (0-0)
  • 2007-current — Kovi Christiansen (107-45) *one state title
  • 1997-2006 — Renn Hoopes (81-33) *one state title
  • 1994-1996 — Mike Grajek (19-10)

  • 1990-1993 — Blaine Monkres (32-9) *one state title
  • 1988-1989 — Steve Coburn (13-6)

  • 1985-1987 — Jan Smith (113-59-1)

  • 1984 — Dave Christiansen (5-4)

  • 1972-1983 — Jan Smith (113-59-1) *three state titles
  • 1971 — Richard Rodak (3-6-1)

  • 1969-1970 — Brent Thorne (9-11)

  • 1967-1968 — Joe Dilworth (11-7-1)

  • 1962-1966 — Bob Wilson (15-24)

  • 1961 — Bob Wilson/Don Johnson (2-6)

  • 1958-1960 — Don Johnson/Don Guest (7-11-1)

  • 1957 — Jack Raymond (0-6)

  • 1950-1956 — Kent Murdock (12-19-1)

  • 1949 — Tally Stevens (3-3-1)

  • 1947-1948 — Garth Bellston (10-3-4)

  • 1946 — Francis Porter (5-4-1)

  • 1941-1945 — Fred Bohman (8-22-1)

  • 1939-1940 — Bill Cowley (10-2-2) *one state title
  • 1929-1938 — Wes Schwab (19-24-3)

  • 1928 — I.L. Peterson (1-2-1)


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Deseret News All-State Archives

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Check out our archives of Deseret News all-state teams from 1929 to 2019 at Deseret.com.

Morgan All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2019 — Jamesen Burraston, DT
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2019 — Ryker Keele, C
  • 2019 — Dexter Gilson, MLB
  • 2019 — Porter Giles, OLB
  • 2019 — Ryder Lish, S
  • 2018 — Carter Thackeray, QB
  • 2018 — Tyson Hurd, WR
  • 2018 — Jamesen Burraston, DT
  • 2018 — Colten Hansen, LB
  • 2018 — Carson Flitton, K
  • 2017 — Jay Carrigan, CB
  • 2017 — Chase Trussell, LB
  • 2017 — Dillon Petty, OL
  • 2017 — Tyson Hurd, WR
  • 2016 — Austin Francis, RB
  • 2016 — Hunter Beddoes, OL
  • 2016 — Cade Moore, DE
  • 2016 — Conley Breshears, LB
  • 2015 — Spencer Larsen, RB
  • 2015 — Wyatt Ekblad, DL
  • 2015 — Jared Fry, DB
  • 2015 — Dallen Calder, K
  • 2014 — Bridger Streadbeck, TE
  • 2014 — Wyatt Ekblad, DL
  • 2014 — Nick Porter, DB
  • 2013 — Kade Carrigan, RB

  • 2013 — Kyle Stapley, OL

  • 2012 — Lantzen Toomer, Specialist

  • 2011 — Boston Saunders, DL

  • 2010 — Tad Sargent, RB