Prep football: Region 5 preview
There’s plenty of quips to be made when a team changes coaches every year. How about the one where, when the senior class walks out the door, so does the head coach?
Bonneville’s lived through it from 2010 through last season, but current Lakers coach Jantz Afuvai has broken recent tradition by returning to the school for the 2014 campaign.
In his rookie season, Afuvai was at the helm of a single-win campaign. But that didn’t dissuade him from returning, and has hardly dampened his enthusiasm.
"It’s a completely different atmosphere. Coaches are on board and the kids are in the right position," Afuvai said. "It was a learning year. The joke going around is that I made it through to another year, since everybody else had been jumping ship."
The Lakers, according to the coach, have dedicated themselves to the weight room in the offseason, and that’ll help this year with additional strength for senior offensive linemen Ethan Atagi (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) and Will Galbraith (6-5, 250).
Senior Connor Halterman (6-0, 210) also helps out on the D-line as well as at linebacker. He’ll get help on defense from the likes of senior lineman Ethan Sorenson (6-2, 220) and senior safety Hayden Shaw (6-4, 180).
The Lakers’ strength and weakness might both be on offense.
On one hand, receivers Alex Croyle (6-2, 185) and Sealun Erskine (6-2, 185) are both seniors, and each is a weapon once they catch the ball.
Erskine, who is also a talented safety defensively, poses a problem on the other hand on where exactly to play him offensively. He also can play quarterback, and that’s an option Bonneville might turn to eventually.
Afuvai, if given his druthers, would like to see either senior Tanner Buckway or junior Braxton Wright step up and take command at signal-caller. If that happens, Erskine can be turned loose at receiver and, just as importantly, concentrate more on his defensive back duties.
"We’ll need to solidify that real quick," Afuvai said. "We may play through that first game to see where we’re at."
Last year » 1-9 overall
Key returner » Sealun Erskine (6-2, 185) is a proven commodity at WR and DB, but could be thrust into duty at QB if things don’t go well there.
Player to watch » Junior DE Candon Bell (6-3, 200) will be asked to become a presence in opposing offenses’ backfields.
Biggest hole » The quarterback slot might not be determined until the first game of the season is over, according to Afuvai.