Head coach: Matt Virgil, first season
Returning starters: 11 (6 offense, 5defense)
Last season: 1-8, missed 5A state playoffs
Matt Virgil has come across many questionmarks in his first week and a half of practicesas Bonneville High School’s new footballcoach.
But he’s also finding plenty of answers.
“We’re starting to get our timing down andjust sharpen things up,” Virgil said betweenbites of pizza following a recent practice.“The starting jobs for the most part are upfor grabs, but it’s starting to figure itself out.We’re getting a good sense of who are onesand twos are.”
Virgil looks at the competition for startingspots as a positive. Ninety or so Bees haveturned out this fall, and many of them sawplaying time for last year’s 1-8 team. They’re a year older and stronger, and they’ve spent thepast six months getting to know Virgil and his new systems on both sides of the ball.
The biggest battle might be at quarterback, where junior Brock Saxton and senior Saia Taufatofuoare fighting for the starting spot. Saxton got a lot snaps in the second half of last season, andappeared to get better as the season went on. Taufatofuo was the Bees’ JV quarterback as asophomore before moving to Utah as a junior.
“Right now, it’s a two-man race,” Virgil said. “I like to joke that two fives don’t make a 10, butthat’s not the case with these guys. They’re both doing some really good things. They have a littledifferent style, but they’re both very cerebral … they control that offensive playbook. And thatmeans a lot from a leadership perspective.”
Whoever wins the job will have plenty of weapons around him.
Senior Trevor McDonald returns at running back, but he’ll be joined by talented wrestler AustinFord and a couple others in the backfied. The receiving options are just as plentiful. Jaden Howell,Brett Cooper and Dillon Sorensen (6-foot-4) along with returning tight ends Kehari Harrigfeld (6-5,235) and Scott Hinton (6-5, 225) will present plenty of matchup problems.
Returning senior Christian Williams (6-2, 240) leads the line, where he’ll be joined by Gage Trubl(6-0, 250), KJ Aldrich (6-3, 215) and former fullback Hunter Guthrie (6-1, 235).
Harrigfeld will lead a mostly rebuilt defensive line, while senior Parker Hunt will guide thelinebackers.
The best player on defense, and perhaps in the area, is returning senior cornerback Kolby Tamayo.The 6-0, 185-pounder is a lock-down corner who isn’t afraid to help out in the run game.
“We put the pads on for the first time the other day and we were running through a tackling drill,”Virgil said. “Somehow Kolby’s chin strap came loose and his helmet came off and smacked him inthe nose. He’s bleeding everywhere, but he refused to come out of the drill. I think that sayseverything about him.”
Height/weight: 6-feet, 185 pounds
Lowdown: Kolby Tamayo missed just one summer weightlifting session, and that was to attend afootball camp at Utah State. Solid dedication for a guy who was already one of the topcornerbacks in the state. “He has a short memory,” Bonneville coach Matt Virgil said. “He stays inthe moment and I think he enjoys the competition, the one on one battles.
Aug. 26 vs. Idaho Falls, 7 p.m.
Circle this date: The Bees won just one game a year ago, against a winless Idaho Falls team thatwas struggling through a difficult season. The teams kick off 2016 with a chance to start on a highnote and get that first win out of the way early.
Sept. 3 at Timberline, 4 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Hillcrest, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Skyline, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Minico, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Highland*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Canyon Ridge, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Madison*, 7 p.m.Oct. 21 at Rigby*, 7 p.m.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Many 4A and 5A coaches make a tradeoff when naming their starting lineups, choosing to put alesser player on one side of the ball so a star won’t have to take on two jobs. Matt Virgilunderstands and even agrees with that, up to a point. “This isn’t Texas, this is Idaho,” hesaid. “The reality is we’re probably going to have four or five guys play on both sides of the ball. It’s something you see on every team in the smaller classifications, but it’s becoming rare at thelarger schools.”
Home sweet home
The Bees won’t have to travel far to play football in 2016. Outside of a long trip to Boise to faceTimberline is Week 2 and games at Madison and Rigby to end the year, Bonneville will suit up inthe home dressing room at Thunder Stadium for the remaining six games. How they fare in thethose five home games (including a tilt against District 93 rival Hillcrest, which also calls ThunderStadium home) could determine if the Bees are playoff contenders.