COMMENTARY — We’ve passed halfway in Region 9’s football season and the MVP debate is heating up. Already talk is focusing on three or four different players from around the region, with Pine View’s Prentiss Miller, Dixie’s Blake Barney and Hurricane’s Jared Edwards garnering most of the attention.
Also in the conversation is Desert Hills quarterback Ty Rutledge, Snow Canyon running back Mitch Phillips and Dixie defensive standout Jesse Lambert.
As a former offensive lineman, this is always a tough debate for me. After all, would any of these accomplish what they have accomplished without someone blocking for them or assisting them in making plays? Plus, football is a team game and celebrating an individual seems somewhat pointless.
But the talks will go on and ignoring them won’t make them go away. So here’s how I see it.
Back in my days of morning talk radio, I made it a point to say that I always felt like the MVP should be the best player on the best team. Following that reasoning, the Region 9 MVP to this point should be someone from Hurricane, perhaps Edwards, who has scored an eye-popping 18 touchdowns in seven games. Then again, Edwards has some very talented teammates. Is he the best player on the best team? Adam Thompson is averaging better than 10 yards a carry for the Tigers and has scored 10 touchdowns on about one-third the touches that Edwards gets. And where would Hurricane be without defensive back Koy Gubler, who seems to come up with a key interception in every big moment of every big game? Linebacker Andy Perkins is having a big year and quarterback Zac Prince has made some huge plays. What about considering them?
I guess my point is, picking the best player on the best team isn’t so easy.
Plus, it’s hard to ignore some of the other candidates.
Blake Barney is passing for 200 yards a game, but also adds 100 yards a game rushing. In leading the Flyers to a 6-1 record, the senior quarterback has accounted for 25 touchdowns Coach Blaine Monkres finally let Barney play defense two weeks ago and the kid came up with several key tackles and one monumental interception.
Over at Pine View, the Panthers have just a 3-4 record, but Prentiss Miller has been amazing. The senior running back is averaging more than 200 yards a game. Against the defending champs, he ran for 348 yards and played most of the game on defense as well, racking up a bunch of tackles. This year, Miller has 1,460 yards, which is tops in the state of Utah and, according to MaxPreps seventh nationally.
How do you ignore those numbers?
Of course, I could make a case for Ty Rutledge of Desert Hills (315 yards of total offense per game), Jesse Lambert of Dixie (dominating defensive lineman), Mitch Phillips of Snow Canyon or any number of offensive linemen.
We could even play the “What if?” game and speculate what kind of year Kody Wilstead would be having had he not broken his ankle.
But the bottom line is that an MVP will be named in a few weeks and he will deserve the award. But so will a lot of other guys.
I just feel lucky to have been able to watch it happen.