On a cold moonlit November night, the Desert Hills High School football team is hard at work preparing for this week’s state playoff game at Stansbury High School in Tooele County. The practice looks and sounds just like any other, but take a closer look at the players and what each one has on the back of their jersey and you’ll understand what it means to be playing football on this team. Head Coach Jake Nelson attributes this special bond to the history this particular group of young men share playing the game of football.
“It’s their camaraderie, it’s how much they care about one another…we’re big on the family around here and we talk a lot about it. These guys have been playing together since they were real young, all the way through little league and up. They’re the first team to come through as freshmen and all the way through our program now, and they really do love and care about each other and they play the game for nothing else…”
Senior linebacker Peter Brown says the family atmosphere is due in large part to Coach Nelson and his staff.
“Coach Nelson started it ever since the school opened up; Thunder family and we really mean that, we love each other, everybody on this team and we’re just brothers.”
After posting a 7-3 overall record, and finishing Region 9 play in 2nd place with a 4-2 record, the Thunder hosted and won their first home state playoff game in the school’s young history. This occurred to the loud support of the student body and the true family members of each player.
It’s the attitude from the players, parents, students and teachers of Desert Hills High School that not only help make the football field a place of success, but a home away from home; and no matter what happens at the end of the season– win or lose– the Thunder players and coaches will always share the bond of brothers and family.