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Sandy Journal

Alta Football Looking Towards State Playoffs

Nov 06, 2015 10:50AM ● By Ron Bevan

By Ron Bevan

Sandy - It’s been a year of change for the Alta football team. A new coach, a new state classification and a new region all meant the Hawks would be meeting new challenges.

But thus far the program has held up well. Although not leading its region, Alta is poised to make another state playoff bid, this time in the 4A ranks.

“Obviously the whole program is new for me,” Alema Te’o, Alta’s head football coach, said. “So I can’t compare the program now with what went on in the 5A ranks.”

Te’o took over the reigns of the Alta program last spring. It is his first head coaching gig at the high school level, but is known throughout Utah for his All-Poly football camps that have helped propel Utah athletes into the college and even pro ranks.

“Coaching high school has been a lot of fun for me,” Te’o said. “Obviously everything is different than what I am used to doing, but I have enjoyed it.”

Another struggle this year’s team had to overcome began two seasons ago. Corner Canyon opened its doors in 2013 and siphoned off students from Alta and Jordan. The biggest hit for the football team came in the sophomores that year, where nearly all the sophomore football team chose to stay together and go to the new school. In a sport that seems to rely heavily on upperclassmen at the high school level, the change two years ago left Alta with only 12 seniors this year. 

“We are a younger team than most out there, but we are holding up,” Te’o said. “I am excited for the future of our program. Next year all these younger players will have an edge on our opponents.”

The Hawks haven’t been a pushover this season despite their youth. The Hawks are sitting in third place in Region 7 with a 3-2 region record. Alta’s only region losses have come against 4A powerhouses Timpview and Provo. Along the way Alta has posted some runaway scores against Orem (61-33), Mountain View (49-7) and Timpanogos (69-7).

And senior quarterback Braxton Kerr is leading the 4A ranks in passing yardage, completing 120 of 206 passes for 1,819 yards. He has thrown for 15 touchdowns.

“Kerr is doing well for us,” Te’o said. “He is finding the right people to pass to and being patient in the pocket.”

Kerr’s favorite targets are Zach Engstrom and Josh Davis. Engstrom, a sophomore, has hauled in 32 catches for 547 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Davis has five scores on 28 catches and 471 yards. Other favored targets include Hayden Harrison, London Rockwood and Landon Maxfield. 

But passing isn’t the only game for the Hawks. Davis has also carried the ball 167 time for 1,552 yards and 22 scores. Engstrom added five more touchdowns to his total on 47 carries of 467 yards.

“We have evolved into more of a running team because of what Davis can do when he has the ball,” Te’o said.