Mesa Ridge turns to senior class to erase pain of last year's ending

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Dominick Fini remembers the feeling of losing in the first round of last season's 4A football playoffs to Ponderosa.

In fact, it's almost all Fini has thought about since last fall.

"Every day I think about that," Fini said. "Every rep I've given in the weight room, every drill we do, I kind of just have that image of when, in that game, they had kind of a long run and we knew at that point the game was pretty much over. It really makes you get out of bed every day to work out at 6."

Fini will play a big part on the offensive and defensive lines for Mesa Ridge, which is losing its leaders in passing, rushing, and receiving yards, respectively, as well as the leading tackler from last season.

But even with that attrition, coach Rob Braaten is confident that his seniors - like quarterback DJ King, wide receiver John Hubbard-Johnson and Fini - will be able to fill the empty roles.

"They did a great job for me (last year)," Bratten said. "I asked each of them to do different stuff than they're going to be doing for me this year, but they've performed well for me. And they've been working real hard this offseason. They've been good leaders. . But they do have to prove that they're ready to step up into their new roles."

One player with heightened expectations is wide receiver/safety Ju-wan Edgerton. Edgerton played last season, accruing a team-high 29 receptions as well as 296 receiving yards, two touchdowns and an interception on defense .

But with other receivers like Caleb Stewart, Samuel Waiters and Ryan Mahon having graduated, Edgerton will undoubtedly be the main threat to spread the field for the Grizzlies. Because of this, Edgerton has lofty goals for himself, saying he wants to break the school record for touchdowns in a season and average an interception per game.

In the end, though, Edgerton is like Fini. He too remembers the painful end to last season, and is striving to help his team have a happier finish to this one.

"After last year's loss I wasn't too happy, but I said, 'All right, next year I have another shot at it.'" Edgerton said. "It's motivated me. I don't want to feel what those seniors felt."