ST. GEORGE — The two teams that played for the 3AA State football title last November will battling for supremacy again, according to media members and coaches who attended the 2014 3AA South Football Media Friday on the campus of Dixie State University.
The four-hour event, put together by St George News and SportsRadio ESPN 106.1 FM and broadcast by the Southern Utah LIVE Television Network in partnership with St George News and KCSG Television, featured the head coaches of all seven 3AA South football teams and select players from each of the teams. Each school — Cedar, Desert Hills, Dixie, Hurricane, Payson, Pine View and Snow Canyon — took turns on the podium, speaking on the upcoming season and fielding questions from local media members.
In separate polls, the head coaches and media members also picked the expected finish of the teams in the 2014 season. The media picked Pine View as the top finisher. The Panthers finished second in state a year ago and finished with a record of 9-3. Desert Hills was second in the media poll, with Dixie picked third, Snow Canyon fourth, Cedar fifth, Hurricane sixth and Payson seventh.
In the coaches poll, Desert Hills was touted to win the league. The defending state-champion Thunder was 11-2 last season and won the title by scoring on the last play of the game against the Panthers. The coaches predicted Pine View to finish second, Hurricane third, Dixie fourth, Snow Canyon fifth, Cedar sixth and Payson seventh.
Pine View quarterback Kody Wilstead was a near-unanimous selection to win the region’s Most Valuable Player award. The senior signal-caller passed for 4,390 yards and 35 touchdowns last year for the Panthers. He received 7 of 8 first-place votes by the media. Gabe Sewell, the do-it-all stud for Desert Hills, received the other first-place vote, but finished fourth in the balloting. Dixie quarterback Ammon Takau was second in the preseason MVP balloting with Thunder running back Bridger Cowdin finishing third. Others receiving votes on the MVP ballot, which had three slots, were Hurricane linebacker/fullback Jeremiah Ieremia, Cedar QB Brecken Lewis and Snow Canyon quarterback Jacob Frei.
The media event, which was held in the CEC studios at Dixie State, was emceed by Devin Dixon and featured a panel of ESPN SportsRadio commentators that included Mike McGary, Patrick Amico and Andy Griffin, plus a gallery for other local media. The third annual media day was a hit among coaches and fans.
“This is awesome,” DH coach Carl Franke said. “I’ve been in the region now for 15 years and I never thought that we would get to this point. I think it says a lot to the talent level down here and the coaches and you guys, the media down here, for putting this stuff on.”
The high school football season starts Aug. 22 with a full slate of non-region games as teams prep for the region season. Desert Hills opens the year up with a game at Orem. Pine View opens with a home game vs. Judge Memorial. Panthers coach Ray Hosner announced Friday that Pine View has filled its Week 2 bye with a game at Agassi Prep in Las Vegas.
Dixie starts the year with its traditional game vs. Springville. This is the ninth straight year the two teams will open the season against each other. Dixie is 5-3 in the previous eight against Springville. Snow Canyon also opens at home in a battle with 5A Copper Hills. Hurricane faces off with Skyline at HHS to start the year, while Cedar is home for Grantsville and Payson hosts Provo.
Look for full previews of all seven Region 9 teams in the next two weeks as STGNews gets fans ready for the 2014 football season.
Fans can watch the entire archived version of the 3AA Football Media Day by clicking HERE.
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