Prep football preview: Cyprus Pirates
EDITOR'S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah's high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
Third-year Cyprus football coach Scott Woolridge has come to love Magna's community spirit and would like nothing better than to reward the old mining community at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains with a winning team.
When the Pirates play, the large "C" at the top of the mountain that overlooks the scenic stadium is lit and can be seen from much of the Salt Lake Valley.
"That community is awesome," said Woolridge, who came to Cyprus from Nampa, Idaho. "When I first got the job, I learned that win, lose or draw, the stands are full all the time. The Fourth of July in Magna is an amazing thing. The town is packed with people. â¦ The kids we have are a tough group of kids who are respectful and reflect that old blue-collar work ethic."
Cyprus, though, plays in rugged Region 6, perhaps Class 4A's most competitive football league. And, in this era of open enrollment, the school has sometimes lost athletes to other schools. For example, Woolridge said the Pirates' starting left tackle from a year ago recently transferred to Skyline.
That said, Woolridge is cautiously optimistic. He has a great all-around player in A.J. Semeatu, a good receiver in tight end Dallas Garreaud, and a solid defensive line. The offensive line, though, could be an issue with only one starter returning.
"Our motto is to compete every day," said Woolridge. "In the classroom, we want our kids to be the best student. We want them to compete in the weight room and out on the field. If you can compete, it gives you an opportunity to win a game."
Last year • 3-7 overall (1-5 in Region 6)
Key returners • Strong safety and slotback A.J. Semeatu may be the Pirates' most talented all-around athlete.
Players to watch • Tight end Dallas Garreaud, cornerback Andre Orantes, and running back/middle linebacker P.J. Loui should all play big roles.
Biggest hole • The offensive line could be an issue due to inexperience and the transfer of a starter to Skyline.
Need to know • Magna is kind of a community within a community, a distinctive part of western Salt Lake County. The town is noted for supporting its teams no matter their record. And Cyprus' stadium is one of the more enjoyable and scenic places in the state to watch a game.