GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Snow Canyon (4-1, 1-1) at Hurricane (1-5, 1-2), Tigers Stadium, 7 p.m.
Previous Meeting: Tigers 38, Warriors 7 (Sept. 21, 2012 at Snow Canyon)
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Marcus Matua (1st year, 4-1 overall)
Offense: Single Wing/Spread
Last game: Beat Payson 35-24
Players to watch: RB Connor Parry had a monster game last week, rushing for 238 yards while also playing time at QB in a sort of Wildcat set. But it was RB Zach Kennedy that started things right against Payson, opening the game with TD runs of 54 and 17 yards. But the Lions kept things close by passing the ball with QB Easton Smith throwing for a career-high (and school record) 377 yards. SC also gave up huge passing yards to PV, so the defense needs to correct some things. DBs Garrett Ence and Trevor Horlacher will be tested a bit this week as Hurricane can throw the ball. QB Jacob Frei may have to pass a bit more this week. He’s attempted just 13 throws all year.
Trend: The huge number of passing yards surrendered in two of the past three games surely is a concern, but won’t factor much this week. Meanwhile, SC is quietly putting together an excellent season. But the road certainly gets tougher from here on out. The Warriors also struggle to pass the ball with just 441 yards on the season (88 yards a game) and only 81 last week. If the running game works, that’s no big deal. But teams are likely going to load the box the rest of the year and disrespect the pass. SC must make them pay.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Chris Homer (12th year, 86-49 overall)
Last game: Lost to Dixie 41-20
Players to watch: A team that regularly racked up 300-plus rushing yards every week for the past five years, Hurricane is struggling running the ball. Against Dixie the Tigers managed just 101 yards and it was QB Adlai Elison’s passing that kept it close for awhile. WRs Jay Williams and Noah Elison continue to factor in for Hurricane, but the offensive scheme just isn’t built for passing a lot. Conversely, the Tigers defense, which had played well the past few weeks, got lit up for more than 500 yards. The Elison brothers combined for 12 tackles, but it’s not necessarily a good thing when the DBs lead the team in tackles.
Trend: Hurricane hung with Dixie last week until late (it was 24-14 going into the fourth quarter). No doubt this young team still has a lot to learn about finishing games. But Hurricane is good enough to be in the game with Dixie, Cedar and Stansbury, so things aren’t all bad. Six teams make the playoffs this season and Hurricane has already beaten Payson, so a win here would guarantee a spot.
Hurricane has beaten Snow Canyon five straight times and that’s got to hurt out in west St. George. SC’s new scheme certainly produces impressive offensive numbers — both Parry and Zach Kennedy have over 400-plus yards on the year. So which team will take a chance or two and throw some passes? Probably the team that can’t get the running game going, which would suggest Hurricane. Adlai Elison, the senior QB, should have some looks, but the Tigers will not reinvent themselves. They still need the fullback to make four yards and a cloud of dust (well, rubber pellets). On the other side, SC will simply try to overpower the Tigers. It should be quick with less than 20 passes being attempted between the two teams.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (27-5) — Hurricane
Darren Cole (21-11) — Snow Canyon
Parry’s spread: Hurricane by 1
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