COMMENTARY — Desert Hills has made a habit of winning the all-sports award, which goes to the school with the most championships and placings in the various varsity sports under the UHSAA umbrella.
In 3A, there are 19 officially recognized team sports, with six of those taking place in the fall season (football, volleyball, girls soccer, girls tennis, boys cross country, girls cross country and boys golf). Soccer, golf, tennis and cross country are done for the year, while volleyball’s state tournament is this week (Wednesday and Thursday, see our preview here). Football, of course, begins its four weeks of playoffs this Friday.
The all-sports award is largely a media-created promotion, but it does give a good idea of the general excellence throughout the sports programs of the schools. There are plenty of folks who will argue about school size, household income disparity, geographic and climatalogical advantages — or whatever else they can think of. But even the haters have to admit that Desert Hills has done things right the past few years — the Thunder have won the all-sports award five straight years.
Desert Hills is not favored to win volleyball this week (though the Lady Thunder will certainly be in the mix and will likely at least make the semifinals). The Thunder are not favored in football, either, with injuries taking their toll on the DH squad. But again, D-Hills will be “in the mix” and are favored to at least make the semifinals.
Looking at our five completed sports, Park City currently leads the all-sports race with 27 points (10 for a championship, 8 for second, six for third, 4 for fourth and 1 for placing 5-10). Desert Hills, which is expected to do much better than Park City in volleyball and football, has 26 points and Pine View is just behind with 25.
It’s worth mentioning that all six Region 9 teams have placed in at least one sport so far and Region 9 has four of the seven teams that have 10 or more points (Snow Canyon has 14 and Cedar has 10).
So what does all this mean. Not much, except this: There truly are some hotbeds for good athletics in the state. In 3A, those places are Park City, Logan, Stansbury/Tooele and, of course, good ol’ St. George.
Here’s a list of the winners and runners-up in the five sports so far this year:
1. Park City
3. Snow Canyon
1. Park City
3. Desert Hills
Boys cross country
1. Desert Hills
2. Pine View
Girls cross country
2. Pine View
3. Park City
3t. Desert Hills
3t. Snow Canyon
First off, let me apologize for announcing the incorrect score in my weekly highlight show, the 3AA South Review. The final score was 33-21, not 40-21 as I had on the show. Sorry ’bout that.
Anyway, those following high school football know that the third season begins this Friday. Coaches like to say that the season is divided into three “seasons,” the preseason games, the region games and then the playoffs.
The playoffs begin Friday for eight teams. Congrats to Dixie, Desert Hills, Logan and Tooele for earning byes in the first round. Though the Flyers and Thunder have identical 4-1 region records, Dixie wins the region and the No. 1 seed by virtue of its 20-3 win over Desert Hills earlier this season, while Logan won the 3AA North with a perfect 6-0 record. Tooele was 5-1.
So, the No. 3-6 seeds will do battle in this first round. Although I don’t like 3A split into two classifications (leaving just 13 teams in 3AA), I do like the format of the current playoffs. Reward the top two teams with a bye and give the third and fourth-place teams a home game. It work for me and I feel like it gives the better teams a little reward for their efforts during the regular season.
Of course, having said that, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the 3AA South went 4 for 4 this Friday.
I think Hurricane will win handily at home and Cedar should beat Judge Memorial, though it will be closer. Pine View has really been playing well the past couple of weeks and if the Panthers can stay relatively healthy, could make things interesting in the quarterfinals (PV would play Dixie if the Panthers can win at Bear River).
As for Snow Canyon, don’t bet against the Warriors in their game at Stansbury. The Stallions have a quality win over 4A Salem Hills and won in impressive fashion to clinch the No. 3-seed with a 34-12 blowout at Bear River.
But the Warriors have been close to excellence this season. They lost in triple-overtime to Pine View and SC is the only team to have beaten Dixie since August.
OK, I’m not exactly going out on a limb in predicting a clean sweep by the South this Friday. But it does get my mouth watering for these potential second round matchups: Pine View at Dixie, Snow Canyon at Desert Hills, Cedar at Logan and Hurricane at Tooele.
Here’s the games and times for this week’s first round:
3AA Playoffs First Round (Note: Logan, Tooele, Dixie and Desert Hills have byes into the quarterfinals)
Friday, Oct. 30
N6 Park City (5-5) at S3 Hurricane (5-3), 5 p.m. at Tigers Stadium
N5 Judge Memorial (3-7) at S4 Cedar (4-5), 5 p.m. at Cedar Stadium
S6 Snow Canyon (4-5) at N3 Stansbury (7-3), 5 p.m. at Stallions Stadium
S5 Pine View (5-4) at N4 Bear River (3-7), 5 p.m. at Bears Stadium
3AA Bracket via UHSAA.org
Darren Cole is covering the 3A State Volleyball Tournament Wednesday and Thursday, with St. George News photojournalist Robert Hoppie providing the art as Snow Canyon, Desert Hills, Dixie and Pine View go for a state title, along with the rest of the 3A playoff teams.
For more on the tourney, check out Darren’s preview here.
I wish I had been at the cross country championship so that I could shed more light on two things: 1. The utter domination of Desert Hills’ boys team; 2. The controversy on the girls side, with runners leaving course boundaries, getting disqualified and then getting reinstated in Stansbury’s state title.
Because I was not there, I don’t have any hard facts to present here. But I will say this: 1: The Thunder boys are as good as it gets, winning another state title and being ranked nationally; 2. Credit to Pine View coach Dave Holt for taking the high road after the event. He probably had every reason to be angry and bitter with the way the girls event ended (his team finished one point behind Stansbury), but instead praised his team for working hard and for handling the “situation” with class.
For more on our coverage of the event, click here.
Congratulations to Logan for winning girls soccer and proving that the games are played on the field, not in the media.
No one was picking Logan to win it all. The Grizz were 6-10-0 last season at 4A and finished second in Region 11 with a 13-4-0 overall record, a game behind Juan Diego.
This Week In Region 9 is a sports column written by Andy Griffin. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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