The football playoffs begin this week with all four Region 9 qualifiers playing Friday, though the times are earlier than usual (see list below).
Truth be told, three of the four southern Utah teams will be heavy favorites in the first round. Top-seeded Desert Hills, No. 2 Hurricane and third-seeded Dixie will all cruise past their Region 12 opponents.
It’s fairly easy to deduce this as an awful North Sanpete team, which lost at home to Snow Canyon 34-3 and barely beat Canyon View 13-7, actually went 32 in that region and tied for second place. The Hawks host Dixie at 5 p.m. Friday.
Payson, which got blown out by 2-8 Lehi and barely beat perennially-bad Union, will visit Desert Hills Friday at 6 p.m.
Delta, which runs an option attack similar to Cedar, is at Hurricane. Normally these teams match up pretty well, but it is a down year for the Rabbits, who have lost by at least two touchdowns five times this season and even went down to a horrible (1-9) Park City team. The Tigers and Rabbits begin at 5 p.m.
That leaves us with the fourth-seeded Pine View Panthers, who play at 9-1 Spanish Fork. Playing in the weak Region 12, the Dons haven’t trailed since preseason and haven’t had a close game since August. Spanish Fork’s only loss came against Logan, a very good 4A team.
The Dons did beat 5A American Fork and 4A Springville, but those are both non-playoff teams with losing records.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are 4-1 since the return of quarterback Kody Wilstead from an ankle injury and the only loss was an overtime one to 8-1 Hurricane.
Dare we believe that Region 9 could go 4-0 in the first round?
If it did, these would likely be the juicy second-round match-ups: Pine View at Morgan, Wasatch at Desert Hills, Hurricane at Juan Diego and Dixie at Stansbury.
Every one of those games would be fantastic to watch.
Here is the bracket:
3A Football Playoffs – First Round
All games Friday, Oct. 26
Judge (5-5) at Morgan (6-4), 5 p.m.
Pine View (6-4) at Spanish Fork (9-1), 5 p.m.
Payson (4-6) at Desert Hills (6-3), 6 p.m.
Bear River (6-4) at Wasatch (8-2), 5 p.m.
Delta (3-7) at Hurricane (8-1), 5 p.m.
Grantsville (6-4) at Juan Diego (10-0), 5 p.m.
Union (5-5) at Stansbury (10-0), 5 p.m.
Dixie (7-2) at North Sanpete (5-5), 5 p.m.
Many people don’t like defense and even point to the global sport of soccer, saying with so little scoring, soccer is boring. But there weren’t too many Snow Canyon fans bored with the Lady Warriors’ run through the state playoffs.
Anchored by a defense that allowed zero goals in four state playoff games, Snow Canyon beat Stansbury, Juan Diego, Wasatch and Park City to capture the 3A state championship. The combined score for the four games was 6-0. The combined record of the four teams the Warriors defeated: 47-23-4.
Grace Walton, SC’s goalkeeper, had 12 shutouts this season, which puts her in a tie for sixth all-time in Utah state history.
Southern Utah has three legitimate contenders in region champ Desert Hills, five-time state champ Snow Canyon and Dixie, which always seems to get hot this time of year.
It is a double-elimination consolation bracket, which means a team must win every match to become state champion, although you still play with one loss with a chance to place third through eighth.
Hurricane is also in the tourney. The Tigers open at 9:30 a.m. Friday against Region 12 champ Delta. Desert Hills also plays at 9:30 a.m. against Payson. Snow Canyon and Dixie both tip off at 11 a.m. With the Warriors taking on Spanish Fork and the Flyers battling North Sanpete.
Teams could potentially play four matches in two days of action. The state championship match is Saturday at 8 p.m. Look for a state tourney preview later this week on STGnews.com.
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