Prep Football: Henderson aiming to change culture at Hunter
On the first day of his second stint at Hunter High, this time as the Wolverines' head coach, Scott Henderson gathered his players, stood before them and made his declaration.
Football at Hunter as we all know it will be back. No more read-options. No more spread offense. Hunter High, in the 2012 season, will line up in the I-formation, shove it down the middle and dare opposing defenses to come up with stops.
The Wolverines will no longer be a revolving door for head coaches. There will be stability. For Henderson, the messages were clear: His goal is to bring Hunter back to the glory days of yesteryear.
"From day one, I told my players that I want Hunter to be known for smash-mouth football, and that's what we're going to do," Henderson said. "We have the key players to be able to do this. But we're going to be balanced as well. We aren't going to be one-dimensional."
That means the Wolverines will throw the ball much less than last season, when Les Hamilton took the reins before moving on to Pleasant Grove.
Henderson, you see, wants to win titles. He did so as an assistant coach in 2003, when Hunter took the state championship home. He was there when Matt Asiata and his brother Shawn were making it a habit of running over defenses. He was a defensive coordinator at Cyprus High when Dustin Pearce led the Wolverines to the 5A semifinals.
Henderson watched the program from a distance the past three seasons. He saw a program that needed to get back to its roots. So when the opportunity came to make the jump, the decision was an easy one.
"I saw a lot of good things, but I kind of thought Hunter got away from the old tradition," Henderson said. "Les came in and he ran the spread. That wasn't Hunter football, and it kind of threw the kids for a loop."
And that's what Henderson wants to change. Last year was a tough one. Henderson knows that stability isn't a concept that's been practiced around the program in the past few years. He also knows that he has the talent to make a quick turnaround.
Ian Togiai, an athletic linebacker, has already committed to play football for Gary Andersen at Utah State. He's tough, a great tackler and a leader.
Hyrum Purcell is ready to take his place as the feature running back. He's having good summer workouts and is poised for a good season.
Hunter went an impressive 4-3 in the Ute Shoot, the premier 7-on-7 tournament in the state. If the Wolverines can continue that kind of balance, an improvement could be made.
"The kids have bought into it," Henderson said. "I told them that I was going to be there for them, and that they were going to see my work ethic."
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Defensive coordinator at Hunter High during 2003 title season
Has a Division I commit in Ian Togiai
Says 65 percent of his players have a 3.0 grade-point average