Alta Football Tough All Around
Oct 04, 2016 03:57PM
● By Billy Swartzfager
Senior team captain Joshua Davis running against Timpview earlier this season. (Alta High School Football)
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By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
The Alta Hawks have started 2016 strongly. The team hasn’t lost a game this season, as of Sept. 16. The Hawks have scored at least 35 points in all but one of their contests, when they scored 32. They started the season at home against Taylorsville on Aug. 19, winning handily 49-20. The Hawks increased their offensive production the following Friday at Hillcrest, scoring a huge 67, while keeping the Huskies at 26.
On offense, Alta is led by a lot of great players. Junior quarterback Will Dana has thrown over a dozen touchdown passes this season and is averaging over 200 yards per game. Team captain and junior Zach Engtrom, a receiver, has scored several touchdowns, both receiving as well as on the ground. Another team captain, senior running back and 2015 all-state recipient Joshua Davis, has scored a multitude of touchdowns as well, while averaging over 10 yards per carry and close to 200 per game. Alta facilitates a spread offense, running Joshua often, taking what defenses give them to work with.
“Running multiple sets, we take what the defense gives,” Manti Teo, second-year head coach at Alta, said. “Running our offense is easier to do with a special back like (Joshua).”
The Hawks are solid defensively, too. Alta’s third game of the season, at home against Dixie, was also a lopsided win. The Hawks won 35-14, keeping the visitors’ offense off of the field for the majority of the game. Senior team captain Matt Hola, who plays outside linebacker and defensive end, is following his all-state worthy 2015 season with another great showing, leading the team with a handful of sacks and over 40 tackles. Tyler Hill, also a senior, plays cornerback and has multiple interceptions so far this season. And junior Mitch Medina, who plays middle linebacker, has over 50 tackles in 2016.
“We bring a lot of pressure up front,” Teo said of his defense. “We run a 3-4 defense, using a lot of man-to-man to keep that pressure up.”
Alta began region play on Sept. 9 against Timpview at home, winning 32-24. Will threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns while Joshua added 248 yards and three touchdowns. The defense was tested more than they had been, but held their ground. The team followed the win against Timpview with a win against another region foe, Orem. The game went well for Alta, who won 47-28.
Alta’s goals are simple: they want to win their region and compete in the postseason. They played well last year and want to build upon that success. The Hawks played into last season’s quarterfinal games and lost to eventual state champions East. Alta is looking fantastic so far and they have a solid chance of playing well into the fall. The Hawks are well coached as well as stacked with solid players. According to the coach, the kids are getting coached at every point in their games and practices.
“We have a lot of special players and a lot of special coaches,” Teo said. “With that combination, we can fix a lot of problems together.”
Alta will close out the season on Oct. 19, against Corner Canyon. The playoffs begin the following week on Oct. 28, and the Hawks should be there as a tough match-up for any program they end up playing. And, according to Teo, the team will be supported by the majority of the Alta student body, faculty and administration.
“I am grateful to be at Alta, to work with a supportive student body and administration makes me excited to be a part of something special,” he said.