GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Desert Hills (2-0, 0-0) at West (1-1, 0-0)
Previous Meeting: Desert Hills 35, West 3 (Aug. 31, 2012 at DH)
Broadcast: KDXU AM-890, Mike McGary on play-by-play
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Carl Franke (2nd year, 10-4 overall)
Offense: Spread, pistol
Last game: Beat Foothill, Nev., 20-16
Players to watch: CB Braden Reber, a summertime move-in from Arizona, turned the tide in the win over Foothill, returning an interception 84 yards for a TD in the third quarter. Reber and his defensive mates have given up less than 300 yards total in two games. RB Bridger Cowdin is among the state leaders with 248 rushing yards in two games. The spotlight will be on sophomore QB Nick Warmsley, who did not play well against Foothill.
Trend: The Thunder expected it and they got it — every team they face this season will have the sole focus of stopping Cowdin. So Warmsley has got to make them pay. Besides being a threat on the zone read plays, the sophomore QB has got to make the right reads on passing plays and, well, throw the ball. That’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore. But DH’s defense will keep them in games while Warmsley gets his on the job training and that’s a nice luxury for Franke and his staff.
Classification: 5A, Region 2
Coach: Keith Lopati (2nd year, 3-9 overall)
Offense: Triple option
Last game: Beat Copper Hills 26-6
Players to watch: Believe it or not, West’s best weapon is its kicker, Alex Cody. He made four field goals last week, including a 50-yarder. RB Landon Tapusoa is a physical runner who likes to lower his shoulder and hit people. LB Chase Moray leads a defense with just two returning starters. A.J. Lolohea is key as the option QB.
Trend: This West team is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Traditionally very athletic, the Panthers have won just one playoff game in 16 years. Coach Lopati, in his second year, decided to scrap his offense and his defense from last year’s 2-8 team, bringing in a triple-option component, and a blitzing D scheme. West also has many players going both ways, odd for such a large school.
Desert Hills likes playing defense and the Thunder especially like playing a team that wants to play smashmouth offense because smashmouth is what DH does best. There probably won’t be a lot of points scored by either team, but when the scoreboard does light up, it will be the visitor’s side. An inexperienced offense with a new scheme will likely get eaten up by the tough DH defense.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (13-1) — Desert Hills
Darren Cole (11-3) — Desert Hills
Parry’s spread: DH by 30
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