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High school football: Farmington Phoenix 2020 preview

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

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Note: Farmington finished with a 9-2 overall record in 2019 and was first in Region 5 with a 4-1 record. It was RPI seed No. 3 in the 5A playoffs and was eliminated by Lehi 27-21 in quarterfinals.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Phoenix had about as good a season as they could’ve asked for in 2019. A year after going 2-9 as a first year program, the Phoenix flipped the script entirely and won nine games, claimed the Region 5 championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs.


Head coach: Daniel Coats

Has guided Farmington to an 11-11 record in its first two seasons of existence, including a 9-2 record last year and a quarterfinal appearance. He’s a graduate of Northridge High School and BYU. He spent four seasons in the NFL from 2007 to 2010, the bulk of it with the Bengals.

Sure, advancing deeper in the postseason would have been great, but as a new high school and a new program, Year 2 was practically a dream come true.

“Overall, I think I was lucky,” Farmington head coach Daniel Coats said. “Just because of the group of seniors I had last year and the way that season turned out.”

The success had by the Phoenix in 2019 has only raised expectations in Farmington. As Coats explained, there are no rebuilding years anymore. 

“The world is not going to give you an off year, a rebuild,” said Coats. “We don’t have to worry about that kind of year. Everyone is going to expect things out of us because of what happened last year, so they are going to have to step up and do it.”

Making that difficult is Farmington’s youth and inexperience. The Phoenix return only three starters from last season, a pair of offensive lineman in Ryan Crowther and Naki Itaaehau and nose tackle Jake Buttars. That is not to say that the Phoenix are lacking in talent, though.

“Entering our third year, we are loaded with talent,” said Coats. “Our program has taken positive steps the first two seasons and we are working hard to improve. We are excited to have several players, both skill and upfront, who we believe will play at the next level.”

That includes new quarterback Drew Patterson. Only a sophomore, Patterson is nonetheless expected to lead the Phoenix offense.

“He is a dynamic athlete with a cannon for an arm,” said Coats. 

Patterson is surrounded by talent at the skill positions — Coats singled out wide receiver Tyson Elkins in particular — so there is an expectation for success.

“There is speed all around him at the skill positions, running back and wide receiver, and a stout offensive line up front,” said Coats.

Defensively, the Phoenix have more question marks and are lacking in overall size, but there is confidence there too.

“Our defense was ranked among the top in the state in points allowed, sacks and interceptions last year,” said Coats. “We want to be strong again.”

The Phoenix have, on paper, one of the most difficult schedules of any team in the state, but Coats is of the belief that that will only benefit his program going forward.

“There are going to be some bumps and bruises on the way, but that is life and we are going to have to roll with it,” he said.

Farmington Phoenix at a glance

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

“I was pretty proud of the way my players responded to it. Knowing the main goal, and the main goal for our guys was to make it so we had a season, they really stepped away from those high school urges of going to parties and hanging out with friends, doing all the other crazy silly stuff that kids do.

“I think my guys did a great job staying home and doing the extra stuff to stay healthy. To this day, luckily, we haven’t had a positive scare yet. Now we’ve had friends of friends of friends, but we haven’t had any kids ourselves and that is a tribute to the kids taking care of business. Overly washing their hands and being smart and safe. I think they responded super well.”


2020 schedule

Aug. 14 — at Corner Canyon, 7 p.m.

Aug. 21 — SYRACUSE, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — at Ridgeline, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 — LONE PEAK, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11 — BOX ELDER, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — WOODS CROSS, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 — at Viewmont, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 — at Bountiful, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 — at Fremont, 7 p.m.

Farmington offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Daniel Coats

2019 offense: 29.9 ppg (seventh in 5A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • Two returning starters
  • Multiple (spread) offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Ryan Crowther (OL)
  • Naki Itaaehau (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Drew Patterson (QB)
  • Tyson Elkins (WR)
  • Dane Nield (C)
  • Jude Cantrell (WR/TE)
Coats’ keys for offensive success in 2020:

“I think the biggest things is going to be for my young quarterback (Patterson) to not be a young-minded player. He has to be able to take care of the ball and not make silly mistakes. Things are going to happen. He will throw interceptions and teams are going to blitz us perfectly and he will get sacked, but if he can control the stuff that he can control by not making stupid throws and making the reads he is supposed to make, then we will be good. I keep pushing that at him. Control what you can control and we will live to fight another day.”

Farmington defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Cody Caputo

2019 defense: 14.8 ppg (third in 5A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • One returning starter
  • 4-2-5 defense
Returning defensive starter
  • Jake Buttars (DT)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Payton Patterson (MLB)
  • Keegan Brown (DE)
  • Hayden Anderson (CB)
Coats’ keys for defensive success in 2020:

“The biggest thing is they have to be smart. We are not a massive team by any sort, so we have to play smart defense. We have to know situations, know where teams want to go and beat them with hard work.

“We aren’t going to be the type of team where we manhandle others and let our stars take over. We are going to have to beat people with scheme and grittiness. All of those guys have to be fighters, dudes who won’t back down from anybody or any situation.”

Coaches preseason Region 5 straw poll
  1. Farmington
  2. Woods Cross
  3. Bountiful
  4. Bonneville
  5. Box Elder
  6. Viewmont

Deseret News outlook for 2020

The Phoenix took a major leap forward in 2019, becoming the toast of Region 5 and one of the better teams in the 5A classification. Maintaining that position will be the challenge in 2020, as Farmington is young, inexperienced and untested. The season will largely come down to how the Phoenix youth perform, especially quarterback Drew Patterson. If all goes well, Farmington may well repeat as region champs. If there is a considerable learning curve, however, the Phoenix could end up a mid-level region team.

Felt’s Facts for Farmington

  • All-time record: 11-11 (2 years)

  • Region championships: 1

  • Playoff appearances: 2
  • All-time playoff record: 1-2
  • State championships: 0

  • State championship record: 0-0

Last five seasons

  • 2019 — 9-2 (4-1 in Region 5 — 5A quarterfinals)
  • 2018 — 2-9 (2-3 in Region 4 — 5A first round)

Farmington coaching history

  • 2018-current — Daniel Coats (11-11)


Deseret News All-State Archives


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

Farmington All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2019 — Wyatt Evertsen, QB
  • 2019 — Brayden Wilson, DT