Prep football: Orem Tigers preview

Orem remains in Class 4A, but that’s a bit of a benefit after a sixth classification was added for the 2017 season.

That means the Tigers will be competing against some smaller schools than their used to playing.

Orem returns Cooper Legas at quarterback after he put up impressive numbers across the board.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that are hungry, pulling in the same directions, are excited and coachable,” coach Jeremy Hill said. “We are coming out looking to be the team to beat in 4A. We’re looking to stay focused and get through our preseason and get a good regional play run and get to the playoffs with a No. 1 seed.”

The biggest threat to the Tigers making a deep playoff run likely will come from down south. The St. George area schools, which have dominated the state titles in the middle-sized classifications, now are classification foes for Orem.

OREM TIGERS <br>Coach • Jeremy Hill, second year <br>Last season • 5-7, 4-3 in Region 7; Advanced to Class 4A playoff opener <br>State championships • 1962, 1968, 1987, 1994 <br>Other state title game appearances • 1965, 1966, 1970, 1988, 1993, 1996 <br>2017 SCHEDULE <br>Aug. 18 • at Bingham, 7 p.m. <br>Aug. 26 (Sat.) • vs. Sutter (Calif.), 4 p.m. <br>Sept. 2 (Sat.) • vs. Bakersfield (Calif.), 12:30 p.m. at MIssion Viejo High (Calif.) <br>Sept. 8 • Corner Canyon, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 15 • at Provo, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 22 • at Mountain View, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 29 • at Salelm Hills, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 6 • Uintah, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 12 • at Payson, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 19 • at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.

Behind center • Legas started the last five games of the 2016 season, going 4-1 at quarterback. He ended up throwing for 1,367 yards while running for 619 yards. He caught 12 balls for 240 yards and a score before becoming the QB, so there’s plenty of reasons for optimism with him back. “In just five starts, rushing over 600 yards and also controlling the ball very well, he’s got it handled,” Hill said.

Ball hawks • Puka Nacua, one of the best receivers in the state, returns as Legas’ top target. He finished with 48 catches for 977 yards last season. “No one is going to be able to guard that kid,” Hill said. Nacua will play alongside Zach Ortiz, who is returning for his senior year after suffering an injury last season.

In the trenches • The offensive line is the team’s strength. Cole Watts (6 foot 8) and Ruan To’a (6-6) are returning seniors who started every game last season. Juniors Hunter Hill and Dylan Peterson and freshman Kingsley Suamataia will join the two seniors.

Hit men • Cayne Sauao-tao, who Hill calls “an absolute tear,” will return as a starting tackle to help lead the defensive effort.

Key returners • Cooper Legas, Jr. (QB); Puka Nacua, Jr. (WR)

Key losses • Tausili Fiatoa (DL)

The next wave • Kingsly Suamataia, Fr. (OL); Remi Hill, Jr. (S)

from The Salt Lake Tribune


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