WEST JORDAN — Copper Hills football is entering a new phase.
First-year head coach John Teuscher is taking on a program that has won just 26 games over the last 10 seasons, and he has every intention of turning it into a viable contender.
“I live in the boundaries; my kids would go to Copper Hills if they were old enough,” Teuscher said of what drew him to the Grizzlies’ program. “As I looked around and kind of did my homework on the job, I think there’s a lot of potential here to do really good things.”
And he is doing everything he can to begin to tap into it.
“This is the largest high school in the state of Utah,” Teuscher said, “so we get a couple things: You would think there would be some guys here who could play football, so that’s an exciting possibility; we play in an unbelievable region against really good teams, so what an exciting opportunity to play against the best; and we’re here to build a program that can eventually — underlined and bolded eventually — win a state championship.
“In this region, against who we play, at the largest high school in the state, what a neat opportunity, what a great chance to go compete.”
The coach said the first step to creating the new Copper Hills is completely forgetting the old way of doing things.
“I haven’t really tried to find out what happened around here before. I don’t know how many returning starters exactly; I didn’t ask,” Teuscher said. “We want new. Day one, if you were a kid who grew up wanting to play quarterback, we gave you a shot no matter what you had ever done in your life. We have not been interested in what has been done. We are only interested in what we can do moving forward.”
So far, the coaching staff is pleased with what it has seen.
“I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with the amount of talent that we have here,” Teuscher said, “and I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen from the players of wanting to get better. We have a lot of guys who have come in and put in the time to be good at football, which is something I’m really excited about.”
The head coach has laid out a philosophy to put the Grizzlies on track to pull themselves out of the bottom of the region standings year in and year out. He acknowledges that path may be a long and steep climb, but knows it will eventually pay off.
“To be successful, we need to go 1-0 every day in everything we do,” Teuscher said. “Go 1-0 academically; go 1-0 socially; go 1-0 in the weight room; go 1-0 in how you treat people; go 1-0 at practice; go 1-0 in ball handling drill; go 1-0 on gassers. And when we had up all those 1-0s, good things are going to happen to Copper Hills. I don’t know when, but eventually the tables will start turning in Copper Hills’ direction. And I believe that 1,000 percent.”
Copper Hills Grizzlies at a glance
Coach: John Teuscher is entering his first season as Copper Hills head coach. He is a graduate of Olympus High.
(3 returning starters, Balanced)
Teuscher did not find out which players started last season and is building the new Copper Hills offense from scratch. He says it will be balanced and led by senior quarterback Sam Taylor. “When he played, what success Copper Hills did have, a lot of it was with Sam Taylor as the quarterback,” Teuscher said. “He’s done a good job adjusting to what we’re doing moving forward. And over the summer, he’s been inquisitive. You can tell he wants to get it right.”
(3 returning starters)
A year ago, the Copper Hills defense gave up an average of 40.1 points per game. Teuscher said this season, the Grizzlies will be much more aggressive.
Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: Sixth
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: Sixth
Bottom line: The Copper Hills football plan for success includes long-term goals to rejuvenate the program. The head coach said he knows the future is bright with outstanding parent, school and community support. While the changes may not show up in the win-loss column this season, there will be noticeable differences as the makeup of the Grizzlies football program is going through a complete overhaul.
Copper Hills coaching history
2013 — John Teuscher (0-0)
2009-2012 — Kai Kapele (6-33)
2005-2008 — Art Erickson (13-27)
2000-2004 — Mike Smith (15-39)
1995-1999 — Ron Halbertson, Jr. (7-39)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.