ST. GEORGE — When local high school football teams kick off the season Aug. 13, their region will be different, but their high level of competition and rivalries will stay the same.
The Utah High Schools Activities Association realigned teams in the 4A classification, moving local Southwest Utah schools from Region 9 last year into Region 10 this year. Overall, the number of 4A teams in Utah was cut in half after realignment and now stands at 13.
UHSAA Assistant Director Jon Oglesby spoke with St. George News about the change.
“The Board of Trustees last winter had several proposals for realignment,” Oglesby said. “A variety of schools that were on the bubble, especially in what was the central 4A region, chose to move up to 5A.”
Without enough teams for a central region, Oglesby added, the remaining 13 4A teams were separated into a southern (Region 10) and a northern (Region 11) alignment.
The high school teams now comprising 4A Region 10 are Cedar, Crimson Cliffs, Desert Hills, Dixie, Hurricane, Pine View and Snow Canyon.
Those seven teams were all together in Region 9 last year; the only team that left the region is Canyon View in Cedar City – the Falcons dropped down to 3A and will be in Region 12 this season.
The rest of the realigned 4A teams are in Region 11: Bear River, Green Canyon, Logan, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline and Sky View.
Even though 4A has fewer teams, don’t expect the level of competition to be watered down.
“It will be very strong in both regions,” Oglesby said. “Both the Cache Valley area and the St. George area have such great coaches, players and fanbases. Those communities support their teams as well as anybody.”
With the alignment as it stands, it’s likely (although not certain) that 4A state championships in all sports will come down to the best team from Northern Utah against the best team from Southern Utah.
“Historically it’s been like that to a large extent, so I’m not sure how different that will be,” Oglesby said.
That was the case last year as Pine View and Sky View played an epic 4A state title game in St. George. Sky View prevailed 39-33 in a contest that wasn’t decided until a controversial last-second ending.
That game might end up foreshadowing this season, as Pine View is ranked No. 1 and Sky View is ranked No. 2, according to the Deseret News high school football coaches preseason rankings.
“We could have a north versus south situation, but it doesn’t have to be,” Oglesby said, noting that using the RPI (Rating Percentage Index) system to determine playoff seeding could possibly set up state championships between teams from the same region.
Either way, local 4A teams and rivalries will be strong in Region 10 and throughout the state of Utah.
“It sets up some real exciting postseason competition,” Oglesby said.
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