This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Granger Lancers

The Hurry-up — Overall record 4-6, 2-4 in Region Two.

Preseason optimism is high at Granger this year.

The Lancers sport seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, including the entire offensive line, quarterback and three running backs.

"This is a good team," said Granger coach Mike Morgan. "I've been in it long enough to know. Mark my words."

If there is a negative for Granger, it might be depth. If injuries hit, the Lancers could be in trouble.

"I am a better coach because I have better athletes, experienced, physical, good athletes," said Morgan. "We had a good camp at SUU … It's a matter of doing little things better every day. That's true of everybody. We don't have a ton of depth."

Morgan runs his own version of the double-wing, an unusual offense with an emphasis on the running game. If it's executed well, it can be effective because other teams don't often see it.

"It's hard to explain," the veteran coach said about his offense. "Its a version of taking things. There is a power element to it. We run reverses, traps and jet out of it. You can do many things out of the double-wing."

The fact that Granger returns all three running backs from a year ago could make the Lancers dangerous.

"This is a region where you have to execute," said Morgan. "Davis, Syracuse, Layton, Viewmont, Hunter and West, but especially Davis, are so well-coached."

Granger has struggled in recent years, but could be primed to battle for a spot in the state tournament this season.

Quarterbacks — At 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, Sidney Alofipo isn't the biggest Lancer, but he might be one of the most important. "He is a leader," said Morgan. "He is not a big kid, but his strength is being a leader. He is a good little runner and he throws enough. Everybody is going to load up the box against us. It's a matter of when we throw, we mean it."

Running backs — With three experienced backs returning, the run game should be a strength for Granger. Morgan calls Amata Tavai one of the most physical backs he has ever coached. Sione Houma, another back, is a returning starter. His brother started at Michigan as a fullback. Dayne Mortensen, a big, physical back, will play fullback.

Receivers — "With the double-wing, what's a receiver," joked Morgan. That said, tight end Junior Tiatia is a sometimes threat who is good enough to earn an offer from SUU. Chase Alofipo will also catch some balls.

Offensive linemen — Veterans Tee Tonga, Tiger Mulitalo, Hector Magallanes, William Lokotui and Caden Cousins hope to open big holes for the running game. "They are a physical group," said Morgan. "We are big, strong and physical. We have a little depth here."

Defensive linemen — Most of the linemen go both ways, meaning that depth could be important. Morgan said Chase Alapito is the key to this unit.

Linebackers — Ricky Salvador, who made second team all-region a year ago, anchors this group. Morgan praised his work ethic. "Ricky is not one of those kids who stands out, but he is a hard-working young man."

Defensive backs — Sione Houma, who has played this position since he was a freshman, is the key player here. "He has football smarts," said Morgan. "He comes from a football family and background and knows where he needs to be."

Key Players

Amata Tavai: This 5-10, 193-pounder plays two key roles for the Lancers. He is one of the top running backs and anchors the linebacking corps.

Sidney Alofito: He might be small and stature but this veteran 5-foot-7, 160-pounder will be the leader on offense at quarterback and could see time in the defensive backfield.

Seone Homa: Don't expect Houma to leave the field often this season. The 5-foot-9, 165-pounder plays running back, corner back and free safety.

Key Losses Offensive lineman Shelston Madsen was recruited by SUU and linebacker Sione Tautaina.

2016 Schedule

8/19 Copper Hills (31-21 win in 2010)

8/26 @Kearns (35-13 loss)

9/2 @Lehi (34-28 loss)

9/9 Hillcrest

9/16 @Hunter (28-21 loss)

9/22 Layton (35-29 OT win)

9/30 @Davis (48-20 loss)

10/7 @Syracuse (24-0 loss)

10/13 West (35-15 win)

10/19 Viewmont (40-26 loss)

Verdict: Like most teams in Region 2, Granger looks improved from a year ago. The Lancers are going to have to improve greatly on defense and win some close ones to grab a state tournament spot.

Projected finish in region: Sixth