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High school football: Grantsville Cowboys 2020 preview

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

Note: Grantsville finished with a 10-3 overall record in 2019 and was first in Region 13 with a 5-0 record. It was RPI seed No. 3 in 3A playoffs, and was eliminated by Juab 22-20 in semifinals.


GRANTSVILLE — After losing two of its first three games last season, Grantsville went on a tear, winning nine straight games. During their streak the Cowboys even handed the eventual 3A champion Morgan its only loss of the season.

With all the momentum seemingly on their side heading into the playoffs, Grantsville suffered a heartbreaking and disappointing loss to Juab in the 3A semifinals.

Now as the Cowboys look to bounce back and turn the page to a new season they’ll have to do so without the majority of their offense, which was arguably the best in Region 13. Luckily, Grantsville has returning offensive lineman Branson Yager. Yager, who head coach Kody Byrd has described as Granstville’s anchor on both sides of the ball, verbally committed to play for Nebraska in the spring.

“He’s really taken control of our offensive line and has taken on a leadership role,” said Byrd. “He’s one of the top kids in the state and we expect big things out of him.”

As the Cowboys look to break in new starting quarterback Logan White, Yager, along with the rest of the offensive line, will be crucial in helping White get settled in.

Defensively, Grantsville will have a familiar look. All-state safety Kaden Kelley and linebacker Hunter Johnson lead a unit that has a lot of experience. This continuity will hopefully allow the defense, which was dominant in region play, to improve upon last year’s performance.


Grantsville Cowboys at a glance

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

“The boys did a good job organizing themselves, staying in small groups, and getting their workouts in. Our seniors stepped up and have been really good leaders throughout this whole situation. In terms of schematics, we’re on par with other offseasons. We’re not as strong as we’d like to be, but kids did a good job running on their own.”

Grantsville Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Craig Harrison

2019 offense: 31.1 ppg (5th in 3A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 2 returning starters
  • Spread hybrid offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Branson Yager (OT)
  • Hunter Johnson (OG)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Blake Thomas (RB)
  • Logan White (QB)
  • Noah Mortensen (WR)
Coach Byrd’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“The big thing is execution. We’re pretty even across the board this year. In years past I feel like we’ve had a really good run game one year and then last year our passing game came up and was really a strong point. But this year I think we’re going to be pretty balanced in our ability to do both well. We have a little bit more speed in the backfield that we hope to take advantage of.”


Grantsville Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Danny Warren

2019 defense: 14.2 ppg (4th in 3A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 6 returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Branson Yager (DT)
  • Hunter Johnson (LB)
  • Logan White (CB)
  • Noah Mouritsen (FS)
  • Kaden Kelley (SS)
  • Blake Thomas (S)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Bridger Edwards (DE)
  • Joey Scorsone (DE)
Coach Byrd’s keys for defensive success in 2020:

“We just have to be relentless in our pursuit in trying to get all 11 guys to the ball. We’ve been trying to preach that. We need to be physical and create turnovers. We do have a lot of kids returning, so it’s been fun to tweak things and play to their strengths and not have to install quite as much.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

It really boils down to how the Cowboys will perform offensively. With a new starting quarterback and new skill position players, there are plenty of question marks. If the offense can perform near the level that they did last year then a record similar or better than last year’s 10-3 mark is certainly a possibility. The defense will be solid, but with so many newcomers on offense, Grantsville will be hard-pressed to replicate last season’s success. But let’s not count them out entirely just yet. Let’s wait and see what the offensive product looks like.


Felt’s Facts for Grantsville

  • All-time record: 403-461-21 (103 years)

  • Region championships: 10 (1960, 1967 co, 1973, 1978, 1984 co, 1985, 1986, 1991 co, 1998, 2019)

  • Playoff appearances: 42

  • All-time playoff record: 41-39
  • State championships: 3 (1992, 1996, 1997)

  • State championship record: 3-5

  • Most played rivalry: 83 meetings with Morgan dating back to 1945. Morgan leads 52-29-2.


Last 5 Seasons

  • 2019 — 10-3 (5-0 in Region 13 – 3A Semifinals)
  • 2018 — 8-2 (4-1 in 3A North – 3A Quarterfinals)
  • 2017 — 5-5 (4-1 in 3A North - 3A Quarterfinals)
  • 2016 — 4-7 (3-2 in 3A North – 3A Quarterfinals)
  • 2015 — 1-9 (1-4 in 3A North — Missed playoffs)

Grantsville coaching history

  • 2017-current – Kody Byrd (23-10)
  • 2016 – interim coach (3-6)
  • 2015-2016 — Curtis Ware (2-10)
  • 2005-2014 — Tony Cloward (46-68)

  • 2003-2004 — Les Hamilton (14-11)

  • 1987-2002 — Kevin Butler (119-67) *3 State Titles
  • 1983-1986 — Bill Mikelson (33-10)

  • 1966-1981 — Larry Harrison (65-85)

  • 1964-1965 — Evan Crowther (9-6)

  • 1957-1963 — Glen Rupp (21-30)

  • 1953-1956 — Don Sandburg (4-22)

  • 1951-1952 — unknown (4-5)

  • 1949-1950 — Ken Linsday (7-7)

  • 1934-1948 — unknown (18-90)

  • 1933 — Sterling Anderson (0-6)

  • 1915-1932 — unknown (42-46)


Grantsville All-State at-a-glance

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2019 — Ammon Bartley, WR
  • 2019 — Austin Gray, OG
  • 2019 — Chace Gipson, CB
  • 2019 — Kaden Kelley, S
  • 2018 — Parker Thomas, RB
  • 2018 — Gauge Pyne, OG
  • 2018 — Isaac Riding, DE
  • 2018 — Logan White, CB
  • 2017 — Brady Arbon, LB
  • 2017 — Gauge Pyne, OL
  • 2016 — Gavin Eyre, TE
  • 2015 — Colton Adams, DL
  • 2014 — Wyatt Barrus, LB
  • 2014 — Cody Riding, DB
  • 2013 — Jake Riding, DL

  • 2013 — Ky Fisher, LB

  • 2012 — Skyler Cloward, OL

  • 2011 — Skyler Cloward, LB