BOUNTIFUL – Bountiful football, Larry Wall and playoff appearances; all of those terms are synonymous with each other at Bountiful High School, where Wall will begin his 30th season as head coach of the Braves and is looking to extend his own playoff appearance streak to the same number.
All of these things are expected at Bountiful, and that is the goal that the Braves will once again attempt to accomplish as the team prepares for its opening football game against Lone Peak.
“It’s just like it’s been for the past several years: make the playoffs and make a run at the championship,” Wall said. “The players are aware of that and they have worked hard during the summer to be successful in the fall.”
But a lot of turnover at a lot of positions will change some of what the Braves will do offensively. A trio of tall receivers combined with two rotating quarterbacks had Wall introduce the pistol formation, which opened up the passing game.
All of those key players have graduated, but Wall said that won’t deter him or the staff from using the pistol over his well-known I-back formations.
“We’re not just going to abandon what we’ve used because those players are gone,” said Wall. “Are some things going to be different? Absolutely, but our strength is going to be in our running game and in our offensive line.”
Anchoring the offensive line will be senior Ben Fowers, who will play center. The rest of the offensive line will include Brady Christensen, Brad Quick, Bruce Tukuafu and Jaxson Petersen.
Bountiful’s main running back will be Houston Heimuli, who led the Braves’ running game with 881 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Mitch Edwards, Kaden Simmons and Max Tuli will each rotate carries behind Heimuli, said Wall.
At quarterback, the battle will ensue between senior Jake Lindsey and junior Austin Parkinson. Both will also see playing time in the secondary on defense and Wall hadn’t decided which one will start under center Friday night.
“Both are competing at a high level,” he said. “You don’t get to see that too often, but both will get an opportunity to play during the season.”
On the other side of the ball, expect to see wrestler Lee Freestone and Brock Larsen anchor down the defensive line. Tanner Smith, Brandon Bott and Mana Vea will serve as the linebackers with Lindsey and Parkinson serving as half of the secondary on a rotating basis.
The team’s kicker, Nels Haltom, is also returning. Haltom kicked five field goals and converted 25 PAT’s in 2013.
The team will play the same teams as last season with a few scheduling differences. Wall said he likes the schedule the way it is because of all the tough teams in it, and wouldn’t play anybody else right now.
“It’s all by design; if we play tough teams and pick up some wins then it will be good for the team when we start playing region games,” he said. “They’re all solid teams.”
Bountiful finished 5-6 overall in 2013 and was 3-3 in Region 6. The Braves were eliminated by Logan in the first round of the state 4A playoffs.
Braves 2014 schedule
8-22 LONE PEAK
8-29 @ Viewmont
9-26 @ Woods Cross
10-3 @ Kearns
10-24 @ Highland