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Draper Journal

Three-time defending state champs back on field for JDCHS

Oct 04, 2018 12:28PM ● By Jana Klopsch

By Catherine Garrett |  HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected]

Replacing seven All-State players is the task ahead for the three-time defending state champion Juan Diego Catholic High School football team. But, with First Team All-State running back Hunter Easterly and Honorable Mention All-State players — running back Tristan Tonozzi and linebacker Sam Knudsen — along with other talented players returning, head coach John Colosimo is ready for the challenge.

“That’s the life of a football coach. It’s a yearly challenge to replace some great players with new ones ready to take their spots,” Colosimo said. 

Easterly and Tonozzi return as seniors after stellar junior seasons that began midway through the year as the duo came in for injured players. They combined for nearly 2,200 yards and 24 touchdowns.

“It’s really nice to have them back,” Colosimo said. 

“I am really excited for this season and how we are going to do as a team,” Tonozzi said. “We have been working hard all summer to try and better ourselves.”

Knudsen, also a senior, will lead a “talented” lineman group that also features Monroe May and DJ Larson.

“I feel great about the upcoming season,” Knudsen said. “We are more conditioned than ever and I feel we are a much stronger team than last year.”

Colosimo said his Soaring Eagle team is focused on “coming together as a football team,” and not focusing on defending its past three state championships. “You can never talk about winning a state title as a measure of a successful season or you’ll be more disappointed than not,” he said. “We’re just going to try to see what the personality of this team is and figure it out.”

“To prepare for the season, we have been working harder than ever and have really come together as a family more than ever,” Knudsen said. “It is a brotherhood around here and we are in sync with every move we make.”

Also on the 2018 squad are Jaron Adams, Hivaik Aitamae, Kemari Bailey, Matthew Bathurst, Andrew Bathurts, Elijah Beasley, Brandon Beran, Cruz Berenguer, Kaden Bravo, Justice Brusatto, Jackson Butler, Gabriel Caceres, Michael Clay, Rangi Colombel, Cordial Miller, O’Pharoah Crockett, Mikey Curran, Rylan Davis, Grant Dhont, Tre Easterbrook, Miguel Flores, Thomas Fortune, Laurbong Gai, Mikey Gatti, Hunter Gough, Cartur Gray, Brock Guiterrez, Mason Harris, Harevaa Hatitio, JC Herrmann, Sam Howells, David Hulverson, Lake Jacobs, Ruben Juarez, Konner Kaczka, Matthew Kaiser, Gage Killion, Michael Knee, Francisco Kuhrke, Dominick Lewis, Jayden Madry, Josue Magana, Kekoa Mataele, Kaiser Mataele, Luca Mates, Matthew Mencia, Trace Monson, Sam Montoya, Eric Puhetini, Nathan Rakowski, Tamatoa Rezzouq, Mark Rippetoe, Nae Roy, Cooper Rust, Nikolaus Sands, Brennan Savage, Graham Skirucha, Colby Smith, Zach Stewart, Maoake Tahirori, Maiko Taukafa, Teuira Tinihei, Raimoana Tinirauarii, Conner Turner, Sione Vea, Kayden Viczian, Manui Wang, Aiden Watts, Caleb Welker, Sean Wolff and Trent Zaffino. 

In its first game of the season, Juan Diego faced Bear River, but the game was postponed in the middle of the third quarter due to lightning and thunder. According to Colosimo, the game will not be finished or replayed.

So, the Soaring Eagle’s first official game was a 46-6 win over Judge Memorial Aug. 24. Juan Diego came out strong with 33 first-quarter points and coasted to the win that included multiple rushing touchdowns. Tonozzi had two scores while Easterly, Butler, Madry, Brusatto and Mencia also got in the end zone. Easterly had 172 yards on nine carries while Tonozzi also had a 100-yard game taking 21 handoffs for 124 yards. Defensively, Knudsen led with 10 tackles while Dhont and Crockett recorded interceptions.

Against Skyline Aug. 31, the Soaring Eagle squad found themselves down 20-0 at halftime before getting on the scoreboard with Tonozzi’s six-yard touchdown run. That proved to be Juan Diego’s only score with the team giving up a late score that accounted for the final margin.

The squad bounced back against Murray Sept. 7, coming out strong with three first-half touchdowns to take a 21-7 lead at the break. A fourth-quarter touchdown by each team accounted for the final 28-14 score.

The Soaring Eagle squad scored first against North Sanpete Sept. 14 — on an 82-yard TD run by Tonozzi — and held a lead after the first and third quarters, but lost 17-14. Its final touchdown was another huge run by Tonozzi, this time for 50 yards. Juan Diego gave up a late touchdown in the loss.

Juan Diego is also scheduled to face Richfield Sept. 21, Manti Sept. 28, Juab Oct. 5 and Summit Academy Oct. 12.

Colosimo is being assisted by defensive coordinator Joe Colosimo, offensive coordinator Greg Williams, special teams coach Sam Salts, junior varsity head coach Tana Vea, freshman head coach Zac Gee and Kevin Butler, Taylor Campbell, DeShaun Crockett, Andrew Markosian, Jim Markosian, Jerimie Thorne and Call Williams on the coaching staff this season.