It was a solid start for football in Region 11 last Friday night.
Four of the six schools in the highly-competitive league opened the 2020 campaign with victories, and another lost by a touchdown that was scored late. All six teams took on traditionally tough opponents.
Before the season began, most of the coaches in the northern most region of the Beehive State talked about how hard it would be to win the title. Each also stressed the importance of playing a tough non-region schedule.
Defending 4A state champion Sky View reeled off 35 straight points in the first half, but had to dig in to beat visiting Stansbury, 35-27. The Bobcats nearest neighbors, Green Canyon, cruised to 42-13 win at Tooele. On a neutral field at Westlake High School in Utah County, Ridgeline edged Pine View, 42-38. Bear River beat Juan Diego, 39-20, on the road. The two losses came by Logan, 14-7, at home to 5A Provo and Mountain Crest to 5A Salem Hills, 34-8, at Hyrum.
At Smithfield, neither team could score in the fourth quarter as both teams came up with big defensive stops. The start was enough for the Bobcats to begin a new season with its 13th win in a row.
“Our kids haven’t been in a dogfight like that in a while,” SV head coach Chris Howell said. “Our kids did a good job battling. It didn’t look pretty, and we made a thousand mistakes. Now we need to figure them out and fix them.”
Sky View made enough plays down the stretch to stop the surging Stallions and run the clock out.
A year ago on the road, Sky View scored late to beat Stansbury in the 2019 opener, 27-20. It was somewhat similar in that the Bobcats scored three times to take an early lead, but Stansbury rallied then too.
For the second time in as many seasons, the Ridgeline-Pine View showdown came down to the wire and, like they did a year ago, the Riverhawks earned a big win. A clutch defensive stand in the red zone late in the fourth quarter by the Riverhawks was the difference. Ridgeline also edged Pine View in the season opener for both teams last fall.
“Any time you have a win against a good, quality opponent like Pine View, you can find some good out of it, obviously,” Ridgeline head coach Travis Cox said. “Obviously, there is a lot that we can work on, but it’s always good to work on things after a win rather than a loss. But yeah, there’s a lot that we did at the end of that game that we can carry forward.”
Green Canyon took the lead for good with a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half, and never looked back en route to blowing out Tooele. The Wolves scored the final 35 points of the game and got 16 from its defense.
“I think the biggest adjustment (we made) was just to settle down and take a deep breath,” GC head coach Craig Anhder said. “Our kids wanted to play hard, they wanted to play well and I think they were forcing things at first. And, you know, Tooele, give them some credit.”
Unlike a year ago in a blowout loss at Provo, Logan held its own against the bigger school. In fact, the game was knotted at 0-0 at halftime. The Grizzlies scored first in the third quarter. The Bulldogs scored the game-winner with 2:06 to play.
“As a whole, they’re a tough bunch of kids that fly around to the football,” Logan head coach Bart Bowen said. “We do need to fix some tackling, we’re diving at legs instead of running our feet through it, but that’s something we’re just going to have to fix next week.”
A rough start proved to be too much for Mountain Crest to overcome against a good Salem Hills program. The Skyhawks, who went 11-2 a year ago and advanced to the 5A semifinals, amassed all 34 of their points in the opening half — 17 in each quarter.
“Yeah, we really can’t put ourselves into a hole like that in the first quarter, but I was proud of (my team) in the second half,” MC head coach Jason Lee said. “So that was one positive for the game is our guys didn’t quit and just roll over. They came out and fought.”
Bear River trailed early to Juan Diego, but steadily pulled away. The Bears scored all six of their touchdowns on the ground.
The second week of action has already hit a speed bump as Ridgeline was supposed to host Cyprus this Friday, but the Pirates have announced they are not traveling north, essentially canceling the game. Ridgeline is scrambling to find another opponent.
Jason Turner and Dalten Renshaw contributed to this story.