At Timpview High School, Bronson Kaufusi was a tall but skinny rush defensive end who, even back then, terrorized opposing quarterbacks. Even before he donned football pads he had been around BYU football due to his father Steve being an assistant coach. BYU blue runs thick through his veins, so playing his last home game in a stadium where he basically grew up will be a sobering experience for him.
“This means a lot and time just flies by,” said a somber Bronson Kaufusi. “I’m just trying to soak up every opportunity, and I’m just really excited to go out there and play for the home crowd at LaVell Edwards.”
BYU middle linebacker Jherremya Leuta-Douyere also wonders where all the time went as well as he prepares for his final home game in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“It’s just kind of another game, but at the same time it is like, ‘Dang where did all the time go?’ Leuta-Douyere said. “It’s the last game at home so I’ll have a lot of family there.”
For kicker Trevor Samson, his last home game at LaVell Edwards Stadium is going to be an emotional one. Having grown up in Fresno, taking on his hometown team is unique. Playing his last home game, and hopefully beating Fresno State to stay perfect at home this season, will be a bittersweet experience.
“It’s going to be an incredible experience and probably a sad experience,” said Samson. “I’m probably going to cry, which I never do at all. It’s going to be an emotional experience for me, especially with my family being there on the field with me for senior night. Like I said, I’m just going to enjoy it and make the best of it.”
Experiencing the energy from the Cougar faithful following a field goal kick is an addicting experience Samson is going to miss.
“The atmosphere and just the fans in general and being able to walk out and see like 65,000 people just cheering for you,” said Sampson. “It’s just an unbelievable experience and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it for sure.”
Of all the experiences Bronson Kaufusi has had on the field, the one memory he’ll cherish the most happens to be the one he experiences right before game time.
“I love being able to run out of that tunnel at the beginning of the game, and sitting in the locker room before that even and hearing everyone cheering,” Kaufusi said. “It’s just awesome, you know, an awesome moment being there. I’m definitely going to soak it all up and enjoy it.”
When it comes to a single memorable experience, Kaufusi reflects back to the very first play of the very first game he ever played in. It was that first play that would set the tone for what would become a prestigious career.
“A few memorable experiences that I’ve had here I would say one is my first game playing here,” Kaufusi said in reflection. “I remember coming out and I didn’t think I was going to play at all. Then they called me out to go out there and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I remember going out there and getting manhandled, and that play just really helps remind me of where I came from. I loved it because I got up and wanted to go again. From that point forward I was hungry.”
Another fond memory Bronson Kaufusi will take with him when he finally wraps up his career at BYU is remembering the grind with his fellow boys in blue over the summer as they prepare for the season.
“Being with all the players in the off-season, I’ll always remember that,” said Kaufusi with a smile. “That’s when we’re really putting in the time for the up and coming seasons. I’ve always loved that aspect of the game. All the wins and some loses they’re always hard to take, but that sting you get from losing has always driven me to be better. So, there’s a lot of good memories.”
Special teams coach Kelly Poppinga paid kicker Trevor Samson a high compliment saying he was statistically one of the most successful kickers ever to kick at BYU. In reflection, that success all started with the confidence Samson gained playing on the road, and this game happens to be his most memorable one.
“Texas last year was probably my most memorable because, obviously, UConn- the game before that- wasn’t my best game,” said Samson. “Then for Texas, I went in and kicked two field goals. That was the turning point for me realizing, ‘Oh my gosh I can do this! I can play with the big boys. I can play with the big boys up here in division one’ That was my favorite game for sure.”
For senior Jherremya Leuta-Douyere, who hails from the inner city of Anaheim, California and is not LDS, his experience at BYU has been a rather fulfilling one.
“It’s made me a better person and there’s been some ups and downs, and it’s been a life changing experience to say the least coming from Anaheim to Provo,” Leuta-Douyere said. “But, you know, it’s been humbling. I think if I would have went anywhere else I wouldn’t have grown as fast as I did as a person coming to BYU.”
In fact given all the trials and unique experiences he has over the past four years in Provo, Leuta-Douyere would do it all over again. In fact he would even chose to do it all over again even if he had the opportunity to go play at USC or UCLA knowing what he knows now.
“It would be a hard choice but I think in the end I would stick it out and come to BYU,” Leuta-Douyere said. “It’s just who I am as a person and a better fit personality-wise and with the Polynesian pipeline. So this is where I fit in best.”