Alta football prepares for tough test against EastAug 29, 2018 02:00PM ● By Jana Klopsch
Alta head coach Alema Te'o puts his team through some sprints at the end of practice.
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
After dispatching its first two opponents by an average margin of 21 points, the Alta football team will face a tough week 3 matchup with last year’s 6A runner-up East High.
The East Leopards will be looking for blood after suffering a 30-8 defeat at the hands of Bingham in week 2, (a rematch of the 6A state finals which Bingham won as well).
Alta head coach Alema Te’o isn’t putting much stock in that result as he prepares his team this week. “We’re up against a dang good football team,” he said after the team’s Monday practice. “We can’t rely on their performance last week because we know how explosive they can be.”
East runs a triple-option rushing attack that quickly punishes any defense that’s not disciplined in their assignments. Their starting running back last year, Sione Molisi, finished with the most rushing yards by any player in the state of Utah. East may not have Molisi this year, but they have Charlie Vincent, who last year as a junior finished with 1,200+ yards and averaged over 10 yards per carry. Slowing him down will be key to Alta’s gameplan.
Luckily for the Hawks, they have a pretty good running back of their own. In his first season as a starter, senior Dallin Pan has been electric. His 320 rushing yards ranks in the top five in the state, and is the most by any player in the 6A and 5A classifications. He’s also been dangerous through the air, catching 7 passes for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Pan will have to maneuver around a huge defensive line for East, a unit that Te’o highlighted as a point of emphasis for the Hawks.
“They have great guys. They’re big but they’re athletic and physical. They can move you and they do it well,” said Te’o.
The leader for the unit is defensive tackle Siaki Ika, who last year racked up 128 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior. Ika is the #1 rated recruit from the state of Utah, boasting collegiate offers from the likes of USC, Washington, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State.
Te’o said that while he expects his team to go out and play hard, his primary concern is seeing his team improve and stay healthy as they gear up for region play.
“These games here that we’re playing are to help us get better. They don’t affect us in our Region ranking. Our goal is to win the region so we have to prepare ourselves for a long haul in the region,” he said.
Alta and East will kickoff at 7 p.m. this Friday from East High’s home field.