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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton’s senior-rich football team hopes to achieve much during season

Sep 03, 2022 12:19PM ● By Jerry Christensen

By Jerry Christensen | [email protected]

New coach, new school, old-school grit. Casey Sutera takes over the reins of Brighton’s two-time region champion football program and brings basics of consistency, resilience and commitment. 

“I think the biggest storylines for us this season are togetherness, growth and sticking to the process. I really am excited for the potential of this team,” said Sutera, who brought success as assistant coach at Jordan High and most recently five years at Corner Canyon High where three state titles were won. 

He inherits a senior-rich team consisting of 29 seniors who have had only two regular season losses in the last three years.

The team captains, Race Gurr, Jack Johnson, Jace Matheson, Dylan Olsen and Mana Nonu, are well-known around Region 6 for a winning mentality despite the odds. Region 6, however, has seen marked improvement in teams from the East Leopards, the Highland Rams, the Murray Spartans, the Olympus Titans, the Park City Miners and the ever-pesky Skyline Eagles. Daniel Olsen, who blogs about Utah sports in the Hive Sports Network (, predicts “the winner of the Rock (Skyline/Olympus) to ultimately be the Region 6 champion.” The Deseret News predicts East at No. 1, Olympus at No. 2 with Brighton edging out Skyline for the No. 3 spot. Brighton staff, however, is determined to complete the trifecta and three-peat with proven players—and then punch deep into the postseason.

Returning offensive starters

●        Dylan Olsen, Sr., OL

●        Nate Vyfvinkel, Sr., OL

●        Brady Simonsen, Sr., OL

●        Jack Johnson, Jr., QB

●        Kace Gurr, Sr., RB

●        Quincy Covington, Sr., WR

●        Nash Matheson, Jr., WR

●        Easton Smith, Jr., WR

Key offensive newcomers

●        Owen Schmel, Sr., WR/TE

●        Walt Raddon, Sr., OL

●        Myles Peters, Jr., WR/TE

●        Jacob Waldron, Sr., OL

●        Ben Henriquez, Jr., OL

●        Sam Perry, Sr., WR

Returning defensive starters

●        Mana Nonu, Sr., DL

●        Kava Taufa, Sr., DL

●        Devin Roberts, Jr., DE/LB

●        Dane Merhish, Sr., LB

●        Jace Matheson, Sr., DB

●        Siale Ofa, Jr., DB

Key defensive newcomers

●        Caden Beames, Sr., DB

●        Aleki Tenifa, Sr., DL

●        Sione Ofa, Sr., DE/LB

●        Kai Fuertes, Jr., DB

●        Kai Beck, Jr., DB

●        Jarom Tapusoa, Jr., LB

●        Andrew Wood, Jr., LB

●        Miles Morgan, Jr., LB

●        Marcus Gill, Soph., DL

●        Vilami Moala, Fr., DL

The Sutera era began with a preseason game in mid-August against southern Utah’s best the Desert Hills Thunder.  This team, predicted to regain their 4A state championship, brought both the thunder and the lightning with them to Bengal Stadium. The 90-minute lightning delay gave the Thunder some rest after their long trip from St. George.  They took full advantage of Brighton’s early season jitters and turned interceptions into touchdowns.

It wasn’t until late in the second quarter before Brighton regained its stride. The Bengals held Desert Hills to no more scoring and fought to the end to finish with a 28-21 loss. “Brighton had multiple chances to clinch that final game-saving touchdown late in the fourth quarter,” said principal Tom Sherwood, “but came up short.”

It was the first high school game of the season and broadcast on TV by KJZZ as the Thursday Night Lights game of the week.

“It was tough game to lose. We have a lot we need to improve on but showed resiliency getting back in the game and there is a lot to build on there,” Sutera said. “I think the measure of what we are able to achieve is how well we handle adversity and success and how we can grow throughout the season.”