Story by RYAN COMER • Portraits by SARAH WELLIVER • Standard-Examiner Staff
PLAIN CITY — Saxton Morby was doing things when he was just 1 year old that demonstrated his athletic prowess to his parents.
His mother, Monica, remembers him being able to walk up to a soccer ball on the floor and then stop, plant and kick.
His gift wasn’t always a good thing.
“To catch him when he was in trouble or something was always tricky, because he was fast,” she said.
The older Morby got, the more he continued to impress his parents.
In his first football game at 7 years old, Morby took a pitch on the first play from scrimmage and ran 70 yards untouched into the end zone.
Morby just completed his senior year where he was Fremont High’s starting quarterback and a starting guard on the basketball team. He led the football team to a shared region title and the basketball team to a second-place region finish.
Others in the region recognized his impact because he was voted as Region 1 MVP for both sports.
Morby is also the 2016-17 Standard-Examiner All-Area Male Athlete of the Year.
Now comes a decision: whether or not to pursue athletics in college. First, he’ll leave on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I’m still thinking about it,” Morby said. “I was kind of closed off to colleges. I wasn’t really too open with them, so I didn’t really get any offers. I didn’t really seek them out and send out highlights, so no one really paid any attention to me. But when I come back from my mission, I may or may not try.”
Morby is the fourth of four boys for parents Glen and Monica, and the only one who made a serious commitment to sports. Two of his older brothers played sophomore basketball before bowing out.
Morby said his friends had an impact. He’s been playing with football teammates Haze Hadley and Colter Wilde since before high school. He and Hadley were part of a vaunted double-wing attack that helped lead their West Haven recreation football team to three Mini-Bowl championships in five years.
They camped out in the backfield as running backs and took turns dicing up opponents.
“(One team) found out they were playing a West Haven team in the playoffs and they were a little worried,” Morby recalled. “They’re like, ‘That’s not the team with 2 and 5 is it? Those were our numbers back then and we’ve always had them. People knew who we were.”
He acknowledges playing without his friends could be part of the reason he hasn’t pursued athletics at the next level.
“He was reluctant even when he got into high school to go play AAU with other people … because it wasn’t with his guys,” his father said.
In addition to his athleticism, Morby has also proven smart. He scored a 31 on his ACT, and Kory Bosgieter, his head football coach at Fremont the last three years, praised his decision-making ability.
“You look back on this year, I’ve never seen a season with so few turnovers and probably never will again,” Bosgieter said. “The kid just makes good decisions, takes care of the football, just does his job.”
Corey Melaney, Fremont athletic director and boys basketball coach, also cited Morby’s intelligence as one of his top attributes.
“Where many guys may need multiple reps to run sets, run plays, you could tell him verbally and he’d pick it up, you could draw it visually and he’d pick it up,” Melaney said. “He was just a phenomenal learner of the game and picked things up really quickly.”
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Livia Borges wouldn't slow down for Layton
TEAM OF THE YEAR: Bountiful volleyball shook off key loss to repeat as champs
Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.