Playoff Preview Capsule: Payson at Desert Hills

GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Payson (4-6, 3-2) at Desert Hills (6-3, 5-1), tonight, 6 p.m.
Previous Meeting – First meeting

LIONS
Classification: 3A, Region 12
Coach: Jeremy Chapman (4th year, 16-24 overall)
Offense: Spread
Last week: Lost to Spanish Fork 45-14
Players to watch: QB Devan Judd leads this spread offense, but with mixed success. He’s thrown for 1,104 yards and 12 TDs, but also has 10 interceptions and only 215 rushing yards. The Lions are only averaging 215 yards a game as a team. WR Preston Little has been a big-play guy, averaging 24 yards a catch with six TDs. DL Taris Schramm has 12 sacks on the year.
PPG: 18.8
PAPG: 31.7
Trend: A week ago, Payson was playing at home for a share of the Region 12 title. But after a 31-point thrashing at the hands of Spanish Fork, Payson had to settle for a four seed and a trip to southern Utah. But did Payson ever really have a chance at the region title? The Lions haven’t beaten a decent team all year and got whipped by some less-than-mediocre squads (Lehi, Granger).

THUNDER
Classification: 3A, Region 9
Coach: Carl Franke (first year, 6-3 overall)
Offense: Spread
Last week: Beat Cedar 42-14
Players to watch: LBs Sil Bundy and Travis Lagrone should have their way against a suspect Payson offensive line. Those two, along with Gabe Sewell and the rest of the DH defense has been getting better and better since that loss to Dixie. QB Ty Rutledge is worthy of the MVP talk swirling around him.
PPG: 32.9
PAPG: 16.6
Team Stats: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football/desert-hills-stats
Trend: Being a top seed has its benefits, like playing at home in the first two rounds in warm St. George. The Thunder are averaging 43.3 points a game the last three weeks. DH just needs to stay healthy as it makes its bid for a state championship.

GAME OUTLOOK
It’s supposed to cool down after dark tonight, so the Thunder starters might need jackets as their evening is likely to end early. Just as a matter of comparison, Payson lost by three touchdowns to Delta, which lost to Park City, which lost to Snow Canyon by 24. Desert Hills beat Snow Canyon 42-0. Do the math. The DH PA announcer may have to learn some new names tonight. Everyone gets to play.

STGnews PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (37-7) — Desert Hills
J.A./Keric Seegmiller (36-8) — Desert Hills

Region 9 standings: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-standings
Region 9 leaders: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/high-school-sports/mens-football-leaders

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