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South Valley Journal

Punt, pass and kick: Providence Hall getting a football team

Apr 15, 2019 03:26PM ● By Greg James

Plans for the football stadium at Providence Hall High School place it between Mountain View corridor and the school's majestic pillars. (Photo courtesy of Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

Football will be a real thing at Providence Hall High School.

The school board and administration had been discusing adding more activities for their students. Approximately one year ago, they sent a survey to parents and teachers asking which programs were most attractive to the students.

“Most of the respondents liked football,” Providence Hall Athletic Director Bret Kettenring said. “Most think football will be good for school spirit and bring more kids to the school, and overall they thought football is big right now in Utah high school sports.”

The Patriots are scheduled to begin their inaugural football season this fall. They will play an independent schedule. At press time, is was unclear whether the Utah High School Activities Association will allow the team to participate in the postseason.

The Patriots hired Cal Williams as their first head coach. 

“I was fortunate,” Williams said. “The week before I had contacted them, the school board had approved the request to begin a football team. I cold-called the school to ask about the position.”

Williams was an administrator for the Utah State football program. The demands of a collegiate program led him to inquire about high school coaching positions. He heard from a friend that the Patriots were planning to begin a team, and he applied for the position.

“It was my understanding that the school was losing students every year because they wanted to go to a school like Herriman or Riverton that offered football. This team will help drive up enrollment. It creates a more traditional high school experience for the students.”

According to the school study, within a 5 mile radius of the school, 40 homes are built each month.

“It is a huge response from the community and parents that this is something they want for this area,” Williams said.

Kettering said bringing a football team to the school is benefiting other sports.

“We are excited for the new opportunity and further expansion of our school,” Kettenring said. “Because of this expansion it has opened the doors to bring in track and field, lacrosse and theater to the school too.”

The first-year schedule includes a trip to Southern Utah to play Monument Valley (tentatively scheduled to be played at Dixie State University; the date is yet to be announced). The Patriots will face Summit Academy in Bluffdale Sept. 13 and Copper Hills Sept. 6. All games will be played at away sites while the school constructs a new football stadium.

“I think we play a tough schedule,” Williams said. “We travel quite a bit. Getting games this late in the year proved to be difficult. With the new RPI rating system, the UHSAA anounced they may let us in the playoffs because regions are not as important anymore. We will wait and see.”

Initially, administrators expected 30 to 50 students to participate.

“We had several parents say they wanted their kids to play,” Williams said. “Right now on my roster list, we have 82 signed up. Right at 50 came to our first morning conditioning and 10 more that could not come for some reason or another.”

Building a program involves acquiring equipment and, most importantly, a football field. School officials will be renovating the current soccer field in front of the school. Administrators plan to build a retaining wall next to Mountain View Corridor, sinking the field to its level and building bleachers below the current school’s majestic columns.

“We have been starting from square one,” Williams said. “The field will have lights a new scoreboard. Similar to Highland High School, we will build the bleachers into the dirt and not take a away the columns that are the front of the school. The visiting fans will look toward the front of the building, and our home fans will look out over the Salt Lake Valley.” 

The team will participate in traditional offseason workouts, three times a week. Williams plans to run a spread offense relying heavily on the run game. He does not expect a lot of size, so he plans to use a quick, up-tempo passing game. Defensively, the Patriots will play a 4-3-style defense (four down linemen and three linebackers), allowing them to be flexible.

“We are excited to get things going,” Williams said. “I like to build a culture of discipline. We will not tolerate bad behavior, but we will do things to be respectful. I want well-rounded student athletes.”