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.
Headlined by one of the best player the state has ever seen, in Osa Masina, the 2014 Brighton Bengals are much more than a one-man show. Armed with plenty of headline-caliber players, the Bengals should fare well this season — despite playing in Region 3, arguably the toughest in Utah.
The 2013 season was a special one for the Bengals, as they advanced to the 5A championship game, only to lose for the second time to the Bingham Miners — the only team to defeat them. Instead of going into the offseason feeling sorry for themselves, they built momentum and excitement for 2014.
"The expectations have been put on us, and I think the kids are ready to perform," coach Ryan Bullett said.
This year’s squad is tight-knit and is doing unique competitions, with versions of Iron Man, Tough Man, Tug o’ war, and more, in order to build team camaraderie.
Teaming up with Masina will be guys like Cody Barton, Drew Jensen, Simi Fehoko, and Sione Hemuli-Lund — but the increased level of play from others at Brighton over these last few years, can be attributed to Masina.
"I think a couple years ago we noticed that other kids were raising their level of play to try and match what he was doing," Bullett said, "He was just young and they were like, ‘Geez, this young guy is doing this. We’ve got to pick it up.’ I think it’s kind of brought a lot out of kids and made them reach their potential."
It is that potential that everyone on the team is showing, that makes the Bengals one of the favorites for a 5A football title.
Last year » 12-2 (lost in 5A championship game)
Key returner » Osa Masina — last year’s All-Tribune MVP — is coveted by several of the nation’s tops school and has a bright future ahead of him.
Player to watch » Line Drew Jensen up at any skill position and he could be a star. The junior has already been named a 2014 team captain.
Biggest hole » The Bengals lost all six offensive lineman last year — most notably Jackson Barton — counting the tight end.
Need to know » Health is key to the Bengals’ season as several guys have to play both ways.
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