GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Hurricane (0-3, 0-0) at Payson (1-2, 0-0)
Previous Meeting – In 1955-6, Payson beat Hurricane twice. They haven’t met since.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Chris Homer (12th year, 85-47 overall)
Last game: Lost to Legacy 34-14
Players to watch: The fullback spot is still a question mark for Hurricane. Jeremiah Ieremiah is good, but he is better at defense and it’s tough to have him go both ways at such demanding positions (FB and LB). The passing game, behind QB Adlai Elison has almost as many yards as the rushing game, which is a shocker for the run-heavy Wing-T. But Hurricane has played from behind in all three games. Speedsters Cody Lebaron and Drake Hermanson need to step up and provide an outside threat in the rush game.
Trend: Word around football is that Legacy is for real, so the loss last week for the Tigers may not be as bad as it seems. We know that Skyline and Stansbury are legit, so the young Tigers have done a lot of learning in the preseason. With region play beginning, now it’s time to apply that knowledge. No one is picking Hurricane to win the region, but there are six playoff spots this year and the Tigers can stake an early claim on one with a win at Payson. But with Hurricane, the fullback position must produce. Now.
Classification: 3AA South region
Coach: Jeremy Chapman (5th year, 16-25 overall)
Last game: Lost to Spanish Fork 33-13
Players to watch: RB Kyle Moffatt,a star on both sides of the ball, has missed the last seven quarters with a severe ankle sprain. Chapman said it is 50/50 on whether he will play against Hurricane. Moffatt averages 10 yards a carry when he plays. QB Easton Smith has passed for 597 yards and three TDs. He likes to throw to Dannel Brown, who has 179 of those yards. Defensively, LB John Harmon has 27 tackles and a sack.
Trend: There’s no doubt Payson is a much better team with Moffatt on the field. Chapman says there won’t be a better athlete on the field all year than Moffatt. Smith has led a surprising pass attack and that could be key tonight. The Lions, it’s worth mentioning, are trying to break a stretch of 35 years since their last winning record. A win this week is a must if they’re going to break the streak.
This is an intriguing match-up, with the Tigers’ tough preseason schedule and the Lions without Moffatt the past (nearly) two games. Hurricane has been good for a long time and it’s a matter of how quick the youthful Hurricane can apply Homer’s successful formula. Meanwhile, Chapman has Payson kids believing this could be the year. The biggest key is which team can establish a running game, then compliment it with a bit of passing.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (18-2) — Hurricane
Darren Cole (15-5) — Payson
Parry’s spread: Hurricane by 25
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