LEHI — All of them had the opportunity to move on, and it would have been hard to blame them if they had. Now, that same group who stuck around has an opportunity to win it all this Friday when taking on Skyridge in the 5A championship game.

And they have the opportunity to do it at Lehi High School, of all places.

It’s no secret how much the Pioneer program has struggled over the years. From 2005 to 2012, the team won a total of eight games, the same total several teams around the state obtain in just one season.

In 2013 the program experienced a bit of a surge when winning five games under then coach David Hastings, before he packed his bags to coach elsewhere. Current coach Ed Larson took over in the wake of Hastings’ departure, with his impressive coaching resume and some justifiable optimism given his credentials.

It was then, under Larson, that the program again plummeted to its old ways, going 0-10 in 2014.

“That was a rough year, and the very first year for a lot of the guys who are now seniors here,” Larson said. “But we had a plan and a vision and fortunately the kids bought in.”

Larson brought to Lehi a pass-happy attack that was a complete departure from Hastings’ classic wing-T offense that almost entirely depended on the run. Larson’s mostly inexperienced team took a good amount of initial lumps as a result.

“It was rough. I mean, I was just a freshman and didn’t play much, but you could see how it affected the older guys,” said Lehi quarterback Cammon Cooper. “It definitely made me want to work hard to make sure we could have better success, and I believed we could see that success at Lehi.”

The Pioneers saw a little improvement in 2015, winning three games and one region game, while playing in a typically brutal Region 4. Following that season players had every opportunity to move on, given the founding of Skyridge High School, which lies just over the 1-15 freeway from Lehi. The new school would take around half of Lehi’s student population and several standout players within the football program.

Cooper could have bolted, and many top players did make their way to Skyridge, but the reasons for staying were sound, despite Lehi’s massive recent struggles.

“I trusted coach Larson; that was a big thing, but probably the biggest thing was the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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5A football championship: Lehi players rewarded for sticking it out at a perennial losing program

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