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High school football: Wasatch Wasps 2020 preview

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

Note: Wasatch finished with an 8-5 overall record in 2019 and was third in Region 8 with a 4-2 record. It was RPI seed No. 9 in the 5A playoffs, and was eliminated by Salem Hills 37-0 in quarterfinals.

HEBER — A lot of top seniors, coupled with good returning experience on both sides of the line is a good recipe for football success, which is why Wasatch coach Steve Coburn is optimistic heading into the 2020 season.

The Wasps will field multi-year starters on both sides of the line, which is a good foundation to build on for any team.

“We really like our linemen. They’re very good players for us and good leaders,” Coburn said. “We also have some good experience around them at the other positions, so we like our chances this year.”

And then there’s the senior leadership, with Coburn citing a lot of it.

“Even though we don’t have a lot of returning starters listed, we have a lot of seniors on this team who have played,” he said. “Those guys are ready to step up and play bigger roles, and it should be a good year for us, if we keep working.”

Last season saw Wasatch battle in region play effectively and make a good run in the playoffs before being eliminated by Salem Hills. This season Coburn is looking for similar and hopefully better returns.

“We feel good after what we were able to do last year, and it’s now about keeping it going and going even further,” Coburn said. “That’s the goal, and with good line play and a lot of good senior leadership, I think we could be a pretty good team this year.”

Wasatch Wasps at a glance

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

“We haven’t been able to practice with pads until real late in the process because of the county restrictions here, so that’s a bit of a worry, but we’ve done well to work around that, I think. So it’s been tough getting the players back into football shape after the lockdowns, but it’s coming along. We’ve been very mindful to follow all the guidelines and we have a lot of kids coming out, ready to play.”

Wasatch Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Devin Lindley/Chase Roberts

2019 offense: 27.0 ppg (14th in 5A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 7 returning starters
  • Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Cole Magnusson (OL)
  • Braxton Turner (OL)
  • Haygden Brisk (OL)
  • Jaxen Nielsen (WR)
  • Jake Gillman (WR)
  • Spencer Risto (WR)
  • Kobe McPhie (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Adarius Edwards (QB)
  • Tyler Karl (RB)
  • Parker North (RB)
  • Chris Cook (RB)
  • Cooper Scott (WR)
Coach Coburn’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“We’re fortunate to have three multi-year starters returning on the offensive line, which is a position where you want good experience. So that’s exciting. We lost a really good running back off of last year’s team, so finding good running backs will be a big key for us. But I like where we’re at at the receiver position. Jaxen Nielsen was really good for us last year and we got a real good transfer looking to start for us at quarterback in Adarius Edwards.”

Wasatch Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Stanton Akana

2019 defense: 20.8 ppg (12th in 5A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 5 returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Cole Magnusson (DL)
  • Haygden Brisk (DL)
  • Braxton Turner (DL)
  • Tyler Karl (LB)
  • Scott Gabler (LB)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Mason Peterson (DL)
  • Bridger Johnson (DL)
  • Jake Gillman (DB)
  • Cooper Scott (DB)
  • Spencer Risto (DB)
  • Riley Davis (DB)
Coach Coburn’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“Like on offense, the strength will be along our line on defense, where a lot of the same offensive linemen will be playing defensive line. We return a really good linebacker in Tyler Karl, but we just need to find some good defensive backs. We have several defensive backs who have stepped up in practices and are looking good, but we just need to solidify that position, and if we do, I think we can be pretty good defensively.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

Wasatch should be able to match what it did last season, considering the amount of returning talent and the addition of Adarius Edwards at quarterback — a player who started for Legacy High School in Colorado before transferring. It’s reasonable the Wasps could exceed expectations, even, with a prediction of them finishing near or on top of Region 8 play somewhat easy to assess.

Felt’s Facts for Wasatch

  • All-time record: 467-389-18 (96 years)

  • Region championships: 20 (1931, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1964, 1966, 1967 co, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975 co, 1977 co, 1981, 1982, 1984 co, 1993, 1999 co, 2002, 2007 co)

  • Playoff appearances: 49
  • All-time playoff record: 31-49

  • State championships: 0

  • State championship record: 0-5

  • Most played rivalry: 84 meetings with Morgan dating back to 1928. Wasatch leads 50-31-2.

Last 5 Seasons

  • 2019 — 8-5 (4-2 in Region 8 – 5A Quarterfinals)
  • 2018 — 6-5 (2-3 in Region 8 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2018 — 5-5 (3-2 in Region 8 – 5A First round)
  • 2016 — 6-5 (3-3 in Region 8 – 4A First round)
  • 2015 — 8-3 (5-1 in Region 8 – 4A First round)

Wasatch coaching history

  • 2012-current — Steve Coburn (49-39)

  • 2011 — Craig Davis (5-6)

  • 2005-2010 — Steve North (43-28)

  • 1999-2004 — Ron Tree (38-31)

  • 1997-1998 — Tim Stanley (3-15)

  • 1992-1996 — Monte Morgan (28-25)

  • 1987-1991 — Ron Tree (21-28)

  • 1959-1986 — Dan Wright (174-104-8)

  • 1956-1958 — Eldon Wright (9-11-3)

  • 1949-1955 — Marion Tree (38-20-1)

  • 1945-1948 — Unknown (8-22-1)

  • 1942-1944 — Floyd “Slick” Slater (20-6)

  • 1940-1941 — Unknown (8-3-1)

  • 1939 — Lou Neeley (3-2-1)

  • 1932-1938 — Unknown (5-28)

  • 1928-1931 — F. G. “Frosty” Richards (5-13-2)

  • 1924-1927 — Unknown (10-8-1)

Wasatch All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2019 — Zakary Thacker, TB
  • 2019 — Braxton Turner, OG
  • 2019 — Ammon Tuttle, P
  • 2018 — Matthias Dunn, K
  • 2015 — Ben Bos, OL
  • 2015 — Skyler Southam, K
  • 2010 — Keefer Babbitt WR