Note: In its original publication, this column stated that only four teams make the playoffs in 3AA football. In fact, six teams make the playoffs from each region, with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams receiving byes (Oct. 30). The No. 6 teams will go to the No. 3s and the No. 5 teams will visit the No. 4s that same day. We apologize for the inaccuracy.
COMMENTARY — This past week, while covering a soccer game and then again during Friday night’s football contests, it struck me how short the region season is with only six teams in Region 9 (aka 3AA South).
I’m not going to editorialize on how silly it is that Canyon View, which is in the same city as Cedar High and less than an hour’s drive from the rest of Region 9, left the region to compete with such intense rivals as Delta and North Sanpete. Instead, let’s talk about the shortness of the region season.
In football, the three teams with one loss already, Cedar, Hurricane and Snow Canyon, are really up against the wall in just the second region game of the year.
This year, all six teams in the 3AA South will make the playoffs. With just six teams in the region, there are only five region games. So if any of those three teams lose this week, that would put them at 0-2 in region and push them right to the precipice of the cliff — going on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
The margin for error is razor thin this year. Plus, Cedar and Snow Canyon play each other up at Cedar Stadium this Friday, so one of those two teams will definitely be 0-2 just two games into the region slate.
The playoffs begin Oct. 30 and will feature the region’s No. 3 and No. 4 teams hosting the No. 5 and No. 6 teams from the 3AA North. Conversely, the No. 3 and No. 4 team from the 3AA North will host the South’s fifth and sixth seeds.
One team the 3AA South has to be keeping a wary eye on is Logan, which is already 2-0.
The Grizzlies, who dropped down from 4A this year, are always good, though this early season has been bizarre for them. They lost to Cache Valley rivals Mountain Crest and Sky View by a combined score of 91-6. But both those schools are 5A and undefeated. Logan beat a below-average 4A team (Box Elder) by one point and then creamed Judge Memorial and Ben Lomond.
Who knows what to think about the Grizz, but we will find out a little more late in the season as Logan and Desert Hills both filled their bye weeks Oct. 14 with a game against each other down here in St. George.
Anyway, back to the short schedule: Because teams only play each other once a season in football, every game is magnified in region. With just five chances to prove itself, and even tiebreakers on the line in each game, the pressure on each team is higher than ever to get a win. One or two losses could put a team in a must-win situation the rest of the season.
Here’s this week’s schedule in the 3AA South (and we’ll throw in the 3AA North schedule as well):
Friday, Sept. 25
Dixie (4-1, 1-0) at Desert Hills (2-2, 1-0), 7 p.m. (ESPN 97.7-FM and CEC-TV)
Hurricane (2-2, 0-1) at Pine View (4-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. (890-AM KDXU)
Snow Canyon (3-2, 0-1) at Cedar (2-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. (590-KSUB)
Logan (3-2, 2-0) at Tooele (3-2, 1-0)
Stansbury (4-1, 1-1) at Park City (3-2, 1-1)
Bear River (1-4, 0-1) at Ben Lomond (3-2, 1-1)
Judge Memorial has a bye
It’s early, but as per usual Snow Canyon and Desert Hills have risen to the top of the crop in Region 9.
Both teams have opened region play with a pair of sweeps and are headed on a collision course for this Thursday’s meeting at The Jungle at SCHS.
One of those two teams has played for the state championship in each of the past four years, with Snow Canyon winning it last season Desert Hills beating the Lady Warriors for the 2012 championship.
Snow Canyon will be the favorite Thursday night, but don’t forget last season, when the Warriors were breezing through their region schedule, only to get bgeaten at home (in straight sets) by the Lady Thunder in late October.
Of course, for Thursday’s match to be a contest between two unbeatens, they both have to capture victories Tuesday night as well. Here’s the week’s schedule:
Cedar at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills at Pine View, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Cedar, 7 p.m.
Cedar has seized early control of the region through four games, winning all of them. The key one last week was the home victory over Desert Hills, 2-1.
The Lady Reds and stellar goalkeeper Megan Giddings have only allowed two goals in four region matches. Cedar also has one of the top scorers in the state in Nicole Jenkins, who had both goals against Desert Hills and has scored 13 times in 10 games overall this season.
Desert Hills and Snow Canyon are both at 3-1-0 in region with both of them losing to Cedar. The two teams meet Tuesday night at SC with the winner emerging as the sole owner of second place in the region.
Pine View is the only other team with a victory as the Lady Panthers are 2-2-0.
Here’s this week’s schedule:
Cedar at Pine View, 7:30 p.m.
Desert Hills at Snow Canyon, 7:30 p.m.
Hurricane at Dixie, 7:30 p.m.
Dixie at Cedar, 4 p.m.
Hurricane at Desert Hills, 7:30 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Pine View, 7:30 p.m.
This Week in Region 9 is a weekly column written by Andy Griffin. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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