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Brighton football looking to the future after challenging season

Oct 30, 2017 04:58PM ● Published by City Journals Staff

Trey Davenport carries the ball for Brighton in a victory over Cottonwood.

Gallery: Brighton Football [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Josh McFadden | josh@mycityjournals.com    

Anyone who follows Utah high school football knows that Region 7 is one of the toughest in the state. Brighton coaches and players would agree.

The Bengals placed fifth in the six-team region, finishing with a 1-5 record and narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Class 5A playoffs. Jordan grabbed the fourth and final state tournament spot by going 2-4. The Bengals finished the season with an overall record of 5-5.

Things were looking great early on in non-region play. Brighton went 4-0 during this stretch, picking up victories over Fremont, Hillcrest, Olympus and Granger. But the region portion of the schedule was a different story. Playing against the likes of Corner Canyon, Jordan and Alta, which all have potent offenses, the Bengals struggled to keep up.

“We beat three 6A teams and a pretty good Olympus team in the preseason,” said head coach Ryan Bullett. “We ran into a buzz saw with our league being the best in the state and the quarterbacks in our league being returning All-Staters or (NCAA) Division 1 players. It is what it is, and our kids are still getting better and competing.”

Brighton’s lone region victory came in blowout fashion over Cottonwood. On Oct. 12, the Bengals stormed past the Colts 49-7. Brighton scored 14 points in the first, second and fourth quarters, along with seven in the third. Quarterback Alexander Zettler scampered for 112 yards and a touchdown (a 55-yarder) on just seven carries. He also threw for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns. MJ Cirillo brought a Cottonwood punt back 75 yards for a touchdown. 

Bullett pointed out that the team suffered some key injuries and were forced to play some younger players. This made the task even more daunting against some of Class 5A’s best teams. 

“We need to develop more depth, so when we have kids get injuries, the drop-off is not so dramatic when we go to the No. 2 players,” he said.

Despite a rough region season, Bullett and his players maintained a positive outlook and continued to work hard. 

“The kids have a great attitude and were trying to get better as we went through a very tough region schedule,” Bullett said.

Bullett praised the play of sophomore middle linebacker Sione Angilau, who led the team in tackles. He also saw time at running back and rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. He, along with sophomore Kepu Fifita and junior Vona Hall, all return next year in the Bengals’ backfield. 

Bullett also highlighted linebackers Salua Masina and Addison Trupp. He’s also excited to welcome back four offensive linemen next season: Jackson Owens, Eli Hanson, Charles Oliphant and Tasi Laufau. 

“We were a very young team, with the majority of the players being underclassmen on both sides of the ball,” Bullett said. “The future looks bright. The senior class has done a great job for Brighton football. This was a fun group to coach.”

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