Friday , August 11, 2017 - 12:00 AM1 comment
ROY — The Roy High football team’s victory at Sky View last year put the state on notice that the Royals were not to be underestimated.
It was another impressive victory for a team that had already asserted itself with wins over traditional power Jordan and eventual Region 1 co-champion and 5-A semifinalist Fremont.
It was all downhill from there.
2017 FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
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Roy lost at home to a respectable, but not exactly intimidating, Northridge squad, squeaked out an overtime victory at injury-decimated Weber, then lost at home to fourth-seed American Fork in the first round of the 5-A playoffs.
“It’s probably coaching, but I think our kids stopped playing with the fire that they needed to,” Roy coach Fred Fernandes said. “We played three really bad games to end the year last year.”
The disappointment has lingered. It’s one thing to be bad all season, but to be so bad after being so good is particularly difficult to stomach.
“And that’s why we have that bad feeling right now, is because we were a good football team. We just didn’t finish the season last year,” Fernandes said.
As Roy begins a new season, it has a familiar strength. The ground game, which has been the team’s bread and butter the last two seasons because of unreliable quarterback play, will be led by senior Trace Tupe.
Tupe averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season, carrying the ball 86 times for 517 yards and six touchdowns. He was also a threat in the passing game, catching nine passes for 116 yards and another touchdown.
“He’s just one of those guys that athletically is so gifted that he’s going to have a really gangbuster year for us on both sides of the ball,” Fernandes said.
Tupe is also an outside linebacker.
Roy’s plan is to run the offense through Tupe, but Fernandes said he’s more optimistic about his passing game this year compared to the previous two years.
Freshman quarterback Jaxson Dart is the reason for Fernandes’ optimism. Dart is the son of former University of Utah defensive back Brandon Dart. His uncle, Grayson Dart, played for Fernandes at Northridge.
“And he throws darts,” Fernandes said.
Ironically, he could have been a Dart. Fernandes said he lives inside Davis High’s boundaries but he wanted to attend Roy.
Fernandes said Dart is one of a few kids “coming across county lines” to play at Roy.
“Freshmen are coming over here because they don’t have to compete against our own freshmen, because our own freshmen are playing junior high league,” he said.
Fernandes said he didn’t go looking for these players. They just showed up.
Roy’s offensive line doesn’t project to be as big as it was last year, but it will include a pair of juniors who started last year: Dalton Slone and Payton Smith. Fernandes also hopes Mercy Matautia can once again be a factor. Matautia, who started two years ago as a sophomore, missed last season because of a torn ACL.
In addition to Tupe returning at outside linebacker, Roy also returns outside linebacker Jax Weaver, safety Josh Gallegos and cornerback Kyrese Rowan. On offense, Weaver will play tailback while Gallegos and Rowan will both play slot back. Weaver is a senior while Gallegos and Rowan are both juniors.
Fernandes highlighted junior wide receiver Dionte Davis as someone who didn’t play last year but could have an impact.
ROY 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(*Region 5 game)
Friday, Aug. 18: Syracuse
Friday, Aug. 25: Weber
Friday, Sept. 1: at Skyridge
Friday, Sept. 8: at Bonneville
Friday, Sept. 15: Woods Cross*
Friday, Sept. 22: at Bountiful*
Friday, Sept. 29: Viewmont*
Friday, Oct. 6: at Box Elder*
Wednesday, Oct. 18: at Layton
SATURDAY’S PREVIEW: BONNEVILLE LAKERS
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