By Amir Behashti and Victor Groberg
Photos by Christopher Lund & Kurt Johnson
“Something on the football field that we always preach is that we all have to do our jobs,” said Brighton High’s Simi Fehoko. “We’ve got to be dependable.”
That’s a life lesson the wide receiver has lived for the past three years.
He finished his Utah career with a record-breaking 3,571 yards. His 41 career touchdown receptions ties him for first in Utah. And in 2014, he caught 24 touchdowns to break the single-season record that had stood for 25 years.
But what a year 2015 has been. In December, he was named to the first team of the 2015 Coaches All-State team, The Salt Lake Tribune’s All-Tribune Team. He is the Deseret News’ 2015 Mr. Football and the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year.
On Jan. 9, he’ll be one of 90 players from across the nation playing in the Army All-American Bowl, and he’s one of the six finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year award.
“There is no replacing him,” said head coach Ryan Bullet, who added that he hasn’t had a receiver as good as Simi in 20 years. “For three straight years he’s showed up every week and competed.”
Brighton went through several changes at quarterback his senior season, but Simi still scored 16 receiving touchdowns, a record-tying five in one half against Copper Hills. The crowd could count on Simi when the Bengals looked desperate and one of the three quarterbacks that played this season would throw the ball up. Simi would leap up over two, sometimes three defenders, for the touchdown.
His teammates noticed that dependability and hard work. Senior linebacker and friend Max Hoole said that not only did Simi play both ways for Brighton, he “never complained about anything, always wanted the best for the team.”
Hoole also commented on his leadership, saying that “whenever I was struggling in a game or somebody else (was), he would always tell us that he had our backs and to keep playing hard and just move onto the next play.”
Simi is quick to praise his teammates and coaches, mention those who came before him whether it’s the previous Mr. Football or Army All-American selection.
With all of the accolades he’s received, he’s still the guy who’s hesitant to miss class for an interview.
The guy who chose Stanford because “I’m looking at where I’m going to be in the next 40 years not the next four.” The guy who posts pictures of date nights with his girlfriend on social media. The guy who hypes up the crowd at a school stomp. The guy wearing the biggest the smile as an accessory to his bow tie and cardigan on game days.
He’s dependably Simi.
The Jan. 9, 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be broadcast live on NBC at 11 a.m. After that, spectators can watch Simi in Region 3 basketball with the Brighton Bengals.