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South Valley Journal

Mountain Ridge High football team opens inaugural season

Aug 19, 2019 03:56PM ● By Greg James

Head Coach Mike Meifu said both quarterbacks battling for the spot should be prepared to see playing time. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

It is going to be a year of firsts at Herriman’s new high school Mountain Ridge. When the football team takes the field this season, there will be a first touchdown, first completed pass and much more. 

“The kids have been awesome,” Mountain Ridge head football coach Mike Meifu said. “I have loved this from day one. We have had a ton of challenges. Logistally, we started workouts at Riverton High School. Their head coach, Jody Morgan, bent over backwards to help us out as much as he could.”

The Sentinels spent most of the spring and summer homeless. They began weight training at Riverton, then went to Kauri Sue for spring practice and finally Fort Herriman Middle School for summer workouts. They stepped onto their own field Aug. 8.

“I told them before practice we were headed over,” Meifu said. “The construction delays with the wet spring drove me crazy. I would drive by it every day hoping to see progress. We will set a record on day one. The goal is to set our standards high and beat them every week.” 

Nine seniors will make up a young roster for the Sentinels this season. 

“This is the first and lasts for some of these kids,” Meifu said. “We made a change, and everyone has doubts. It was hard for these kids to make a change to come here. These kids are high character. I know what I am going to get from them.” 

The quarterback battle has boiled down to Hayden Timothy and Ayden Helm. The school’s first completed pass will be awarded to one of them, but Meifu said they had both be prepared to see playing time.

“During practice, I yell Hayden or Ayden, and it is usually the other one I want,” Meifu said. “Hayden is a senior that has some experience, and Ayden is a sophomore that is like a Swiss army knife. He does everything.”

Timothy previously played at Summit Academy. He has good pocket presence, whereas Helm could see time at wide receiver to take advantage of his versatility. Helm also plays outside linebacker.

“I had some really good players at West Jordan, and I feel like we have just as good out here if not better,” Meifu said.

McKade Beardon is a flexible wide receiver and cornerback.

“Mckade is Mr. reliable,” Meifu said. “He does everything we ask of him. He is coachable and really smart. He will have a big year for us and will make a lot of plays on both sides of the ball. To have a player like that is really good.” 

The tight end in Meifu’s offense plays a critical role.

“I expect Luke Johnson to be a great tight end for us,” Meifu said. “On our defensive front, Chase Higham is a freshman and is probably the biggest kid out here. He is very strong in the weight room and plays with a motor.”

The entire process of beginning a program has been a logistical nightmare.

“We wanted the best equipment,” Meifu said. “Our goal has been to do the right thing the first time. One night, I had to stay with the storage compartment because I did not have a key. Our parents have trucked these kids everywhere. We had to put our equipment together. One day we had lightning and did not have access to the school. It has made us think.” 

The decision to coach at Mountain Ridge was not an easy one for Meifu. 

“It was a tough decision for me,” he said. “West Jordan was home to me. I live right here close. When the decision came up, it was hard for me. Living 20 minutes away from West Jordan and not seeing my kids was getting tough.” 

The Sentinels began their season at home against Olympus Aug. 16. Mountain Ridge had a rough inaugural game, losing 56-0 to the defending Region 6 champions from Olympus. Mountain Ridge hosted Kearns Aug. 23 and will travel to Riverton Aug. 30. The Sentinels will host their first region contest Sept. 13 against Timpview.

They will compete in the Region 7 against Alta, Lehi, Orem, Timpview and Timpanogos.