University of Washington commit Voi Tunuufi is a Salt Lake City defensive lineman whose high school team got off off to a slow start and its playoff finish has been delayed by the pandemic.
Nonetheless, he's been satisfied with how things have turned out.
"What better time than the playoffs," Tunuufi said.
His East High School team lost three of its first four games, but Tunuufi and his teammates didn't give in. There was no finger-pointing and no doubting each other. They hunkered down.
"We knew that we could be so much better," he said.
It still hasn't been easy.
East had a gut-check game against Copper Hills and responded with a 39-0 victory.
However, the Leopards suffered a difficult 31-30 overtime defeat the following week — on a two-point conversion.
Even then, Tunuufi could see East coming together.
"We just had to fit the right people into the right places," he said.
Over their next four games, East won each of them by an average of nearly five touchdowns.
Tunuufi was a big reason for the turnaround.
During the four-game winning streak, he picked up 46 tackles, 7 sacks and a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Through nine games, Tunuufi has 111 tackles.
The virus forced the cancellation of the East-Kearns second-round state playoff game, with East advancing to the quarterfinals to play the winner of the American Fork- Copper Hills contest.
American Fork beat East 69-49 earlier in the season.