GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Snow Canyon (3-1, 0-1) at Payson (1-4, 0-2)
Previous Meeting: Snow Canyon 39, Payson 15 (Aug. 27, 2004 at Snow Canyon)
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Marcus Matua (1st year, 3-1 overall)
Offense: Single Wing/Spread
Last game: Beat Copper Hills 23-20
Players to watch: QB Warner Rigby is out with an injury, so backup Jacob Frei gets the reins. SC should be able to move the ball this week, with RB Zach Kennedy (121 yds, 2 TDs last week) playing well and RB Trevor Horlacher also stepping up after battling injuries. LB Brady Sargent, star catcher on SC’s state championship baseball team, may have some choices to make in the future as he is becoming a star for SC’s football team as well. S Brock Staheli had a sack and a TFL last week.
Trend: The Warriors defense limited Copper Hills to just 238 yards and 2 for 8 on fourth downs (guess Copper Hills had no kicker?). The Warriors have struggled passing this year with just 2 passing TDs and 87 yards a game. That needs to change and reports are that Frei is a decent thrower (also an SC baseball player). Also, kick coverage is crucial. Snow Canyon had the Copper Hills game clinched after as late TD, only to let the Grizzlies back in it with a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Classification: 3AA South Region
Coach: Jeremy Chapman (5th year, 16-27 overall)
Last game: Lost to Desert Hills 44-13
Players to watch: QB Easton Smith had his best game throwing the ball, connecting for 265 yards and two TDs against DH. But most of those yards and both scores came during garbage time and the Thunder up 44-0 last week. However, RB Kyle Moffatt, still not 100 percent after an ankel injury, had just 18 yards of offense in the game. LBs John Harmon and Conner Atkinson continue to anchor a decent defense that’s pretty good against the run.
Trend: The Lions were able pass last week, however, they had no running game, recording less than 20 yards total. Things looked hopeful for PHS after an opening win against Provo, but the losing streak is now four. Reversing this trend may be difficult, but the Lions must find a way to get Moffatt going. He had 183 yards vs. Provo. Defensively, they allowed a career-high 344 yards passing to DH’s Nick Warmsley last week, with the biggest problem being missed tackles after short passes. Practice this week likely focused on that.
This is pretty much a must-win game for the Lions, who still have trips to Dixie and Pine View. Finding the running game will be crucial, plus Smith has to be able to stretch the defense. Meanwhile, SC is 0-1 and has already used up its bye week, so a win is equally important to the Warriors. This is the second of three straight road games for SC, but all three are winnable (at Hurricane next week). With Rigby out for SC and Moffatt healing for Payson, this game could be closer than some experts believe. Look for the Warriors to crank up the passing game and the Lions to try and grind it out.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (24-4) — Snow Canyon
Darren Cole (19-9) — Snow Canyon
Parry’s spread: Snow Canyon by 15
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