COMMENTARY – While it’s true that football teams usually take on a personality and attitude similar to its head coach, the players have a lot to do with it as well.
For instance, last season Desert Hills was led by excitable, flamboyant quarterback Ty Rutledge. As a team, Desert Hills reflected his enthusiasm and zest for life. By contrast, Dixie was led by QB Blake Barney, who was more reserved and cerebral. Both guys led their teams to incredibly successful seasons, but in different ways.
Now, two weeks into the 2013 football season, some of the teams’ personalities are starting to show. This past Friday was another hard-fought prep football evening that helped us learn more about what to expect from the region’s teams. Here are some results and some of what we learned.
Defending-champion Dixie had more than 500 yards of offense and score 51 against Lehi. Ammon Takau accounted for most of those yards and seemed to be channeling his inner Blake Barney. Before we get too excited, we need to remember that Lehi hasn’t won more than two games in a season in nearly a decade. But a game like this could do wonders for the Dixie QB and his teammates, confidence-wise. Emerging personality: Tentative, but growing confidence.
Desert Hills, which has a head coach that loves heavy metal and great offense, was great again defensively, holding a high-powered Foothill team to under 200 yards, while forcing three turnovers, including a pick-six by Braden Reber. The offense is still a work in progress, with a sophomore at quarterback. But DH does one thing really well: smack you in the mouth. Emerging personality: Raucous and physical.
Pine View blew away a stunned Orem team, amassing 545 yards of offense and shutting down a Tigers team that had scored 28 on Pleasant Grove a week earlier. There’s no doubt that Kody Wilstead is the physical leader, but some of the seniors on the team (Jack Bangerter, Thor Katoa, Kaden Creager and others) are the emotional leaders and they have yet to play a game at Rice Eccles Stadium. Emerging personality: Hungry and eager.
Snow Canyon beat Shadow Ridge, from the Las Vegas area, Friday night. It’s hard to get a gauge on how good these Warriors are. They beat a traditionally good San Juan team, even shutting them out. But San Juan is a 2A school. And Shadow Ridge is notoriously bad at defense, but usually decent at offense. A 25-6 final was not what I expected. I thought the Warriors would win, but at 46-28 or something like that. Also, they have a bye this week, so the mystery continues. Emerging personality: Yet to be determined.
Hurricane lost its first two games for the first time since 2007 with Friday’s 34-21 defeat at the hands of Stansbury. But five straight years of being a contender for a title (and 2011’s championship) I’m sure have taught Tiger fans to not panic. Hurricane is young and its early schedule has been brutal. Three weeks from now, they’ll likely be sitting at 2-0 in region. But with youth comes mistakes. And enthusiasm. Emerging personality: Exuberant and hopeful.
The other two 3AA South Region schools, Cedar and Payson, are harder to read, mostly because we don’t see them that often. Cedar must be conflicted, getting beat up by Grantsville, then scoring 63 on Canyon View. As for Payson, well it’s hard to say. The Lions will finish their Utah County rivalry tour before finally starting region play next week. For now, they must feel hopeful, but a little intimidated.
Region 9 volleyball play starts Thursday, with defending state champion Desert Hills visiting Dixie. Perennial powerhouse Snow Canyon will start at home against Pine View, while Canyon View and Cedar will battle up in Iron County.
If we were seeking a storyline for this season, it would probably be found in the budding rivalry between Desert Hills and Snow Canyon. The Thunder took two out of three last season, including the match at The Jungle, SC’s home court. Snow Canyon led 2-1 in sets in both Desert Hills victories, including the state championship match.
But Desert Hills had a great team, while Snow Canyon has established a great program. If the Thunder want to reach that level, they’ll have to reload and have a great team every year. It will be fun to watch.
In girls soccer, Dixie and Cedar both jumped to the head of the class by sweeping two matches last week. The Lady Flyers won at Pine View and beat defending-champion Snow Canyon at home, allowing one goal in two games. Cedar, meanwhile, seems to have a bit of a scoring juggernaut. The Lady Reds beat Hurricane 4-0 and blasted Canyon View 7-2. Hmm, a great defense against a great offense. Sounds like fun. But the two teams don’t meet for another two weeks (Sept. 17 at Cedar).
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