ST. GEORGE – With the first round of the 4A playoffs in the books, we’re starting to see who the real contenders are for the 2017 state championship.
Gone are teams with losing records, like Bonneville, Cedar, Mountain View and Park City.
Regions 10 and 11 didn’t fair so well in the first round. While Regions 9 and 12 went 3-1, the other two regions were 1-3 with only the top seeds (Orem and Stansbury) surviving. The Tigers weren’t really challenged by Bear River, but the Stallions barely escaped against Cedar, pulling out a 28-20 win.
So, what can be learned from the first round? On the surface, it looks like the state champ will come from either Region 9 or Region 12, but is it that simple?
Let’s look at some evidence.
Sky View has amassed a 10-0 record. The Bobcats didn’t play a 6A team, but beat 5A Springville by 19. Sky View went 5-0 in Region 12 (winning by an average of 23 points per game), plus dominated Regions 10 and 11 with two wins over each. But the Bobcats did not play a single game against Region 9 opponents.
Dixie comes into the quarterfinals with a 10-1 record, with the Flyers’ only loss coming to an out-of-state foe. Dixie is 1-0 against 6A (Lone Peak), 1-0 against 5A (Springville) and 8-0 against 4A teams, including 6-0 in Region 9 and blowout wins against Regions 10 (Tooele) and 11 (Park City). That’s pretty much a perfect 10.0 rating, with a marquee win over 6A Lone Peak.
Mountain Crest, at 10-1, ties Dixie with the second-best record in 4A. The Mustangs played and beat three 5A teams, including a very good Highland team. Mt. Crest also beat everyone in 4A, except Sky View. The Bobcats beat the Mustangs on the last play of the game, 16-13. Mt. Crest is 2-0 against Region 11 and 1-0 against Region 10, but has not played a Region 9 team.
Many of the pundits along the Wasatch Front believe the 9-2 Orem Tigers are the team to beat in 4A, despite the strength of Region 12 and the reputation of Region 9. Orem is 0-1 vs. 6A (getting blown out by No. 1 Bingham), and 1-1 vs. 5A (lost to unbeaten Corner Canyon and whipped mediocre Provo). Against 4A, Orem is 6-0 with a 5-0 Region 10 record and last week’s 36-7 win over Region 12’s Bear River.
Pine View, at 8-3, has won five games in a row. The Panthers are 1-1 vs. 5A teams (beat Cyprus, lost to Lehi), but did not play any 6A squads. Pine View went 4-2 in Region 9, and is 2-0 against other 4A teams (blowing out both Green Canyon and Tooele). The Panthers’ average margin of victory in the last five games is 35 per contest.
Stansbury (7-3) and Ridgeline (7-4), who play each other this Friday in Stansbury Park, are next up, record-wise. The Stallions lost to a pretty lousy 6A team in Taylorsville, played no 5A teams and are 6-2 vs. 4A. Stansbury lost to both Sky View and Mt. Crest, but (barely) beat Region 9’s Cedar 28-20 last week. The RiverHawks beat a 6A team (well, it was 1-8 Copper Hills), but suffered blowout losses to Snow Canyon, Mt. Crest and Sky View. Ridgeline is 5-4 vs. 4A teams overall.
Desert Hills, at 6-4, is an interesting case study. The Thunder blew out their foes in five of their six wins. But they were blown out in three of their four losses. An early game against 5A Jordan tells a lot. DH led by 17 in the fourth quarter, but lost by one in overtime. The Thunder went 4-2 in Region 9, plus beat Region 10’s Salem Hills 56-10 and Region 11’s Bonneville 45-13. This is a very dangerous No. 3 seed.
Here’s the final tally:
- Region 9 is 1-0 vs. 6A, 2-2 vs. 5A and 6-0 vs. the other three 4A regions
- Region 10 (O.K., just Orem) is 0-1 vs. 6A, 1-1 vs. 5A and 1-0 vs. the other three 4A regions
- Region 11 (Stansbury) is 0-1 vs. 6A, 0-0 vs. 5A and 1-2 vs. the other three 4A regions
- Region 12 is 1-0 vs. 6A, 4-0 vs. 5A and 9-2 vs. the other three 4A regions
So, the evidence suggests what we perhaps already knew. Region 9 is strong, as is Region 12. Stansbury is weak and may lose to third-seeded Ridgeline this week. And Orem is … well, Orem is a mystery. Besides their region, the Tigers have only played one other 4A team and it was last week’s first-round win over Bear River.
The logic suggests this week’s results to be: Dixie wins a close one over Mt. Crest; Ridgeline edges Stansbury; Sky View squeaks past Pine View; and Orem and Desert Hills – well, who knows?
4A State Playoffs quarterfinal games (Nov. 3)
Mountain Crest (10-1) at Dixie (10-1), 6 p.m.
Ridgeline (7-4) at Stansbury (7-3), 4 p.m.
Pine View (8-3) at Sky View (10-0), 4 p.m.
Desert Hills (6-4) at Orem (9-2), 4 p.m.
State 4A semifinals: Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. @ U of U
4A championship game is Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. @ U of U
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