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High school football: Hurricane Tigers 2020 preview

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

Note: Hurricane finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2019 and was eighth in Region 9 with a 1-6 record. It was RPI seed No. 19 in the 4A playoffs, and was eliminated by Ridgeline 48-13 in first round.


HURRICANE — In Skyler Miller’s first two years as coach, Hurricane’s program has just one victory.

As frustrating as most of those games were, there’s a sense within the team that all of that frustration was a build-up to this season.

“We’ve had our fair share of ups and down and struggles to try and fully align our kids from the program up. But it’s unique right now, as a staff we feel really lucky and excited to have such great kids,” said Miller.

Hurricane returns six starters on offensive and five on defense, giving it a solid foundation to build on this season.

A year ago Hurricane ranked 19th in 4A scoring defense allowing 37.8 ppg, but Miller is hoping that a potentially strong linebacking core led by Corbin Crofts and Kaleb McLaws will improve that production in 2020.

“Those two will give offenses issues. They play out of their minds and they’re super good kids. They have all the potential in the world to help our defense be rock solid,” said Miller.

On offense, McLaws will also start at quarterback after getting many reps at the JV level last year. Hurricane is hoping to spread it out a bit more this year, and McLaws should be an asset in the running game and passing game.


Hurricane Tigers at a glance

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

“I would say our kids were pretty positive through the crisis. It’s interesting how it all came about, aside for the school closure and everybody trying to figure out how to finish school, everyone in our school is (in) the same boat. We worked really hard the last couple years with our staff to create a good working relationship with our players. Especially with these seniors, they were sophomores my first year here in Hurricane. We’re stayed in touch. We had about 85 percent of our roster still in my weight training class so communication was really easy moving forward.”

Hurricane Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Cory Ashby

2019 offense: 17.7 ppg (17th in 4A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 6 returning starters
  • Multiple offenses
Returning offensive starters
  • Conner Nielson (RB)
  • Corbin Crofts (FB) — started O-line last year
  • Luke Wright (Slot)
  • Bubba Moore (WR)
  • Greg Scott (OL)
  • Isaiah Martinez (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Seth Peart (OL)
  • Kaleb McLaws (QB)
  • Cody Paletta (WR)
  • Tucker Wright (TE)
  • Jack Reeve (WR)
  • Levi Grodel (WR)
Coach Miller’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“I think it comes down to simplicity from our coaches and making sure they’re installing it at a pace kids can adapt to. We’re making some changes, looking to be more of a spread option team. Our blocking schemes up front are a little different. I would saw our strength right now is definitely offensive line. Once we solidify our QB spot, our skill guys will help keep it up. If we can keep it simply, I know our kids will pick up on it and we’ll have success.”


Hurricane Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Nick Hansen

2019 defense: 37.8 ppg (19th in 4A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 5 returning starters
  • 4-3 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Isaiah Martinez (DL)
  • Tucker Wright (DL)
  • Corbin Crofts (LB)
  • Cody Paletta (DB)
  • Luke Wright (S)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Greg Scott (DL)
  • Kaleb McLaws (LB)
  • Tristyn Dennent (LB)
  • Carson Navarro (LB)
  • Lance Matthews (LB)
  • Bubba Moore (DB)
Coach Miller’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“Simplicity. Last year we got a little out of our heads at times and kids weren’t as mentally prepared as they should’ve been. This year we have a veteran D-coordinator and we’re really excited he’s come to that side of the ball. He’s really focusing on making sure we’re the most fundamentally sound and aligned defense we can be. Be real simple and real vanilla, so we can get kids in the right spots to get success.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

Even though Hurricane’s lone win last season came against Crimson Cliffs, it was competitive in several other Region 9 games before fading in the second half. With several key returning starters back from last year’s team, there’s reason to believe that Hurricane can push to be a .500 football team this season.


Felt’s Facts for Hurricane

  • All-time record: 314-343-12 (70 years)

  • Region championships: 10 (1965 co, 1980, 1982, 1989 co, 1990, 2005, 2008, 2009 co, 2010 co, 2011, 2012 co)

  • Playoff appearances: 37

  • All-time playoff record: 31-36

  • State championships: 1 (2011)

  • State championship record: 1-7

  • Most played rivalry: 69 meetings with Cedar dating back to 1949. Cedar leads 48-18-3.


Last 5 Seasons

  • 2019 — 1-9 (1-6 in Region 9 - 4A First round)
  • 2018 — 0-9 (0-6 in Region 9 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2017 — 2-7 (1-5 in Region 9 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2016 — 3-7 (1-4 in 3AA South – 3A First round)
  • 2015 — 6-4 (3-2 in 3AA South – 3AA Quarterfinals)

Hurricane coaching history

  • 2018-current — Skyler Miller (1-18)
  • 2014-2017 — Steve Pearson (19-24)
  • 2001-2013 — Chris Homer (91-57) *1 State Title
  • 1989-2000 — Wes Christiansen (54-57)

  • 1982-1988 — Wayne Edwards (20-37)

  • 1972-1982 — Wes Christiansen (57-58)

  • 1971 — Tony Heaton
  • 1961-1970 — Jim Beaty
  • 1960 — Don Lay
  • 1954-1959 — James Robertson
  • 1950-1953 — Don Homer (16-10-3)
  • 1949 — Edgar Lempold (4-2)
  • 1947-49 — Paul Wilson (no official win/loss record but won 6-man football titles both years he coached)

Hurricane All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
  • 2011 — Brian Scott, RB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2015 — Kirt McDaniel, DB
  • 2014 — Jeremiah Ieremia, LB
  • 2014 — Charlie Sefita, LB
  • 2012 — Jared Edwards, RB

  • 2012 — Sean Hafen, DL

  • 2012 — Ethan Stratton, K

  • 2011 — Alex Sefita, OL

  • 2011 — Kevin Mortensen, DL

  • 2011 — Taylor Parker, DB

  • 2011 — Weston Yardley, SP

  • 2010 — Daniel Nielson, OL

  • 2010 — Jarom Healey, RB

  • 2010 — Taylor Parker, DB

  • 2010 — Eric Canfield, DL

  • 2010 — Corey Edwards, K