Since moving back to the 4A classification prior to the 2017-18 academic year, Sky View’s football team has not lost a region game.
The Bobcats are hungry to keep that trend going in 2019, but it will not be easy.
Head Coach: Christopher Howell (1st season)
2018 Record: 10-1 (1st in Region 12)
The Bobcats went undefeated through the regular season and first round of the playoffs before a stunning 15-14 upset at home to Park City in the quarterfinals. Sky View’s offense benefited greatly from the services of 2018 All-Valley MVP, Mason Falslev. He accumulated 1,510 all-purpose yards, most on the team, as the starting quarterback in just eight games played.
Tanner Stokes, the then-senior running back, led the team in rushing (1,152 yards) and touchdowns (11 total). On the other side of the ball, the defense held opponents to 17.7 points per game, third in 4A and best in Region 12.
Falslev (QB), Hunter Larsen (DL/OL), Caleb Christensen (KR), Jacob Zollinger (TE/OLB), Evan Hall (OL), Titan Saxton (DB), Traeson Martindale (DB), Scout Morris (DB).
Falslev once again will lead the offense,. His throwing abilities won’t wow crowds, but his athleticism will, and he has enough of an arm to make plays through the air. In addition to that, Howell pointed out the experience, leadership and know-how Falslev brings to the table.
“His knowledge of the offense is really good,” Howell said. “He knows where everybody’s supposed to be, he does a good job of making checks and communicating those checks to other people.”
The newcomers on offense looking to make an impact are Gino Demuzio at running back with Brigham Lewis at receiver. Lewis wasn’t a full-time starter at WR last year but got a few starting nods throughout the year.
The defense once again looks to be a crew capable of shutting down almost any opponent. When asked about his expectations for that side of the ball, Howell said he wanted to see them “continue to play at a really high level.”
First two games of 2019
Sky View hasn’t skimped when it comes to scheduling tough opponents, having played Stansbury on opening night and Skyridge in Week Two. The Bobcats are 1-1 against this slate, with a win over Stansbury (27-20) and an 18-10 loss to Skyridge.
Falslev has carried the team in a large way so far, doing literally a little bit of everything on offense while also contributing on defense. The senior not only has 350 yards across the two games, but leads the team in rushing (81 yards).
Outside of the reigning Region 12 MVP, Sky View is lacking, at least in the rushing department. Demuzio is barely averaging north of one yard per carry (22 yards on 20 attempts). Lewis has performed admirably as the top pass-catcher so far with 12 catches for 145 yards and one TD on the year.
Head Coach: Craig Anhder (3rd season)
2018 Record: 4-7 (4th in Region 12)
In just the second season in their young history, the Wolves edged their way into a playoff spot, though they lost in the first round, 42-21, to the eventual 4A runner-up Dixie.
Green Canyon had one of the more balanced offenses in Region 12 with QB Joe Dygert finishing third in passing yards and touchdowns in the region, and All-Valley running back Brett Gasaway leading the region in rushing yards.
The defense, however, was a different story, ranking 18th of 25 4A teams in points allowed per game. The Wolves gave up 32.3 points per outing. Only three times did they hold an opponent to less than 30 points in a contest (all were wins coincidentally).
McKay Yorgason (WR), Jack Radford (OL), Ethan Delisle (PK), Jacob Lundin (moved to QB), Blaze Christensen (OL), Bryce Christensen (OL), Carter White (LB), Tristan Reece (LB), Caden Peterson (LB), Gage Norton (DB), Jacob Regen (DB).
The Wolves may have lost the heart of their offense in Dygert and Gasaway over the offseason, but assuming that will slow down the attack is a mistake that will lose games for opponents. Green Canyon is all in on a potent rushing attack, which Anhder said his coaching staff knew “is something we’d have to do well to be successful” this year.
Dustin Gasaway and Brennan Dean form a solid running back tandem as speedy, elusive backs. Lundin, though not a long-armed quarterback “adds a lot to our run game with his athleticism,” in the words of Anhder. Teams will have a hard time tackling those three, much less slowing down their combined running attack.
The defense returns its entire linebacking corps and shook up its defensive line, transitioning a few players to different positions on defense and bringing in some new guys, including a wrestler and a sprinter to add some niche skills on the front line.
First two games
For the first time in program history, Green Canyon is 2-0. That comes largely due to carrying over effectiveness on offense, but more importantly to a huge increase in execution on defense. The Wolves allowed just one touchdown against Tooele in the former’s 28-7 win on opening night. Then GC got its first shutout in program history in a 27-0 win over Bonneville in their second game.
“We really tried to do an inventory of the athletes we have and what would work best for them, and then try to put those kids in situations where they could be the most successful,” Anhder said. “It also helps that we’ve got some returners on that defense that have that varsity experience and can step in and play with confidence.”
Head Coach: Bart Bowen (1st season)
2018 Record: 9-2 (2nd in Region 12)
Logan completely flipped the script from a 2-8 record in 2017 by finishing second in Region 12 only behind undefeated Sky View. Johnny Parkinson was a star at quarterback, leading the region in passing yards.
Isaac Larsen (DB), Kade Thornley (RB), Ace Kennington (OL), Tennyson Hadfield (OL), Brandon Willie-Perez (OL), Isaac Hopkins (DL), Chris Shopbell (LB), Andrew Thompson (LB), Jaylen Sargent (DB).
The Grizzlies lost a lot of production at the offensive skill positions, including three All-Valley selections in Parkinson, Kevin Nye and Timm Van Leeuwen. Logan will be without its top three receivers from ’18, each of whom tallied at least 600 yards through the air, and the quarterback who threw to that talented crew.
Thornley remains as the top offensive returner in terms of production. He leads all returners in rushing, receiving and even has experience as a starting quarterback via his sophomore season. Bowen will have to turn to Thornley a lot to pick up the slack from the departed talent.
Ethan Wilson has taken over the reigns at quarterback. Most of his targets are new, but Bowen likes the talent he has at receiver.
“We have some really great receivers coming back,” Bowen said. “They didn’t play a lot of offense last year due to the fact that we had some great receivers last year.”
The two main receivers will be Isaac Larsen and Jaylen Sargent, who have spent the majority of their time at Logan as defensive backs. Thornley will also feature heavily in the passing game with his versatility, even lining straight up as a receiver at times.
Defensively, Logan will still enjoy the considerable services of Larsen in the defensive backfield, along with Sargent. Larsen isn’t the only high-level contributor coming back, though. Linebackers Chris Shopbell and Andrew Thompson were two of the top three tacklers for the Grizzlies last year.
“It’s just a matter of getting the kids in the right positions,” Bowen said of the defense. “Teaching them fundamental techniques that, once they start mastering those as the season goes along, we’re going to get better and better.”
First two games
In Week 1 Logan got the snot beat out of it by Provo, the 15th ranked team in Utah according to MaxPreps. Week 2 went a lot better, but the Grizzlies still lost to Stansbury in a 47-42 shootout at home.
The second game obviously saw more positives, particularly on offense. Wilson threw for 448 yards and three touchdowns, with two rushing scores as well. Thornley had a solid game with 141 yards from scrimmage — 62 yards on 12 carries, including a 31-yard scamper. Larsen and Sargent showed out as receivers against Stansbury, gaining 123 and 178 yards, respectively, in their offensive roles.
However, the negatives were still there as Wilson threw five interceptions in the game. The defense also gave up 40-plus points again. That’s likely not going to continue, but anything close to it will sink the season no matter what fireworks Logan puts up on offense.
Head Coach: Travis Van Leeuwen (1st season)
2018 Record: 4-6 (6th in Region 12)
The Riverhawks kicked off the season strong with four wins in their first five games, including a 29-28 triumph over rival Mountain Crest in what may very well have been 2018’s game of the year. Then they proceeded to lose their next five games and finish last in Region 12.
Ridgeline’s defense was solid, consistently holding teams in the low 20s or below, but the offense just never could quite get over the hump.
Cameron Dahle (TE), Andrew Hugie (OL), Charles Nielsen (OL), Aidan Mellen (LB), Rhett Gebert (LB), Brandon Cook (DB).
Ridgeline is the only team among these five to not return at least one All-Valley player from last season. But they do return two offensive linemen and a pair of linebackers to bolster their rebuild from a disappointing ’18 campaign.
Bringing in Van Leeuwen could pay dividends as he helped turn around Logan from a 2-8 team into a second-seeded playoff squad.
Kaden Cox won the offseason quarterback succession battle, taking over for Breck Jackson, last year’s starter. Jovesa Damuni will be the bell-cow back leading the run game. And as for pass-catchers, Dahle will play a big role as the primary returning target, though the ball will likely be spread around to numerous receivers just like Van Leeuwen’s system at Logan.
Gebert could have a big year at linebacker for Ridgeline.
First two games
The Riverhawks are one of just two undefeated teams remaining in Region 11 with a 58-56 shootout win over Pine View in the season opener, and a relatively subdued 28-13 win against Cyprus. Damuni already has 54 carries in those two games with back-to-back 100-yard performances. He’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has seven touchdowns already. Cox threw for 351 yards in the opener, but then a less-stellar 111 in Week 2, though he still completed 18 of his 28 passes (64 percent).
Head Coach: Jason Lee (4th season)
2018 Record: 7-5 (3rd in Region 12)
The Mustangs followed up an appearance in the 2017 4A title game with a third-place finish in Region 12 and quarterfinals loss against Orem, the same team that denied MC a state title the year prior. Mountain Crest finished with a 7-5 record, 3-2 in Region 12.
Defense carried the Mustangs through many of their games, ranking fourth in 4A in points allowed per game (18.5) and 10th in sacks (38) among all divisions. MC held seven of its opponents under 20 points and only allowed 30-plus on two occasions.
Eddie Huerta (DL/OL), Camden Olsen (DB), Hunter Schroeder (LB/RB), Jaxon Lee (OL), Wyatt Larsen (DL), Emilio Veater (LB), Garren Burgess (LB), Elijah Jackson (LB).
Defensively, the Mustangs appeared to be set as the vast majority of production in the front seven returns this season. Three returning starters on defense last year, Hunter Schroeder, Eddie Huerta and Camden Olsen, were All-Valley selections in 2018. Three others, Elijah Jackson, Gerren Burgess and Emilio Veater, were honorable mentions. In the words of Lee, “our defense is our strength right now.”
Lee will push his defense hard to choke the life out of opposing offenses and create turnovers to give his offense a better chance to flourish.
Last year, offensive inefficiencies held the team back from its full potential, and the ’19 season will very likely turn on a similar hinge.
Helping to lead the new charge on offense is Tadon Burbank. Burbank, the 2019 All-Valley Baseball Player of the Year, succeeds three-year starter and 2017 All-Valley Offensive Player of the Year, Brady Hall. His primary help will be returning running backs Schroeder and Trae Fuller. The two ran for a combined 893 yards on 206 carries (4.3 average) last year. Schroeder led the region in rushing touchdowns in ’18 with 14.
The biggest loss on offense, aside from Hall, is Jace Dart, who was the Mustangs’ top pass-catcher last year, leading the team in yards (446) and touchdowns (five) in that regard. The replacement for Dart’s production will primarily come from Mason Baldwin and Olsen, who is taking a larger role on offense this year after catching just two passes last season.
First two games
Mountain Crest lost both of its first two games of the season, 34-7 at Salem Hills, and 17-8 in the home opener against Wasatch. And as the scores show, a lacking offense has been a dominating feature of both games.
In the more recent game, simple mistakes kept Mountain Crest from victory in a very winnable game for them.
“We played fairly well last week, we just had too many penalties,” Lee said. “That’s always a thing that will hurt you. But our offense is coming along, I think we can get some things worked out.”
Outside of a couple long runs from Walker Hutchinson and Veater, the Mustangs are averaging 3.9 yards per carry — not a good sign for a team that favors running the ball on a 55-45 split. The top three leaders in carries — Schroeder, Burbank and Fuller — are averaging a combined 2.8 yards each rushing attempt.
Burbank, the successor at quarterback to three-year starter Brady Hall, has shown flashes in these two games, more so against Wasatch. But through two games he has completed just 46 percent of his passes and averages just 4.8 yards per pass thrown.
Under Lee, who is now in his fourth year as head coach, the Mustangs have only had a losing record once, that being the year the school split and was forced to play a 5A schedule with a 3A roster (and they still went 4-7). Should the offense come along, as Lee hopes it will, the Mustangs likely won’t break that trend of winning seasons.