GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Payson (1-7, 1-4) at Pine View (6-2, 4-1), 7 p.m., tonight at Panther Stadium
Previous Meeting: Lions 29, Panthers 13 (Oct. 7, 1998, at Pine View)
Broadcast: ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM with Mike McGary and Andy Griffin
Classification: 3AA South Region
Coach: Jeremy Chapman (5th year, 16-30 overall)
Last game: Lost to Dixie 44-21
Players to watch: QB Easton Smith has shown improvement and great arm strength, but it still hasn’t translated into wins. RB Phil Perez, playing more slot than running back, caught 8 passes for 112 yards and 2 TDs vs. Dixie. Kyle Moffatt is getting the highest percentage of carries, though the Lions have nearly given up on the running game, attempting just 13 rushes last week. Smith is 42 yards short of the 2,000 plateau passing and has 14 TDs to 10 INTs. Perez and WR Preston Little have combined for 57 catches and 768 of those yards, but Dannel Brown is the big-play guy, averaging 24 yards per reception. LB Dalton Baker has two sacks and two INTs this year.
Trend: The losing streak has reached seven games as the Lions are probably not enjoying their first season being grouped with the southern Utah schools. Payson is 1-2 against Utah County schools and 0-4 vs. Washington/Iron County schools. The bright side is that Lions have shown they can move the ball on just about anybody and they still have a playoff shot with a win this week or next week vs. Cedar. Payson also has gotten healthier than it was earlier this year. With the running games slowly disappearing, PHS should find a way to use the athletic Moffatt more in the passing game. He has just six catches all year.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Ray Hosner (13th year, 107-39 overall)
Last game: Beat Hurricane 34-31
Players to watch: PV fans, take a few minutes off of watching the ball and watch WR Jack Bangerter run his pass patterns. He is astounding at that skill, which is one reason he was able to catch 17 passes last week, the second highest total in Utah state history. Oh, and he did with a broken index finger on his right hand. It also helps to have strong-armed Kody Wilstead tossing the pigskin his way. Wilstead threw for a career-high 480 yards against the Tigers. Every yard was needed in PV’s 3-point win over Hurricane. Wilstead leads Utah in passing yards, while Bangerter leads the state in receptions and receiving yards. RB Pano Tiatia 4.3 yards per carry. Tristan Duran will play a lot at WR as injuries will keep Bladen Hosner and Colton Miller out of tonight’s game. In fact, PV will be without those two, plus defenders Justice Santiago, Parker Ferris and Liahona Tiatia.
Trend: The Panthers have been involved in a lot of close games this season. Five PV games have been decided by 7 points or less and the Panthers won three of those, including last week’s comeback victory over Hurricane. There were whispers around the region questioning why PV had such trouble with the 1-7 Tigers, but rivalry games (especially on the road) are sometimes unexplainable. Pine View certainly got the offense rolling and Wilstead has now topped 5,000 yards on his career. The Panthers have had injury issues this year, but can take 23 days off if they win tonight. No joke — PV has a bye next week and would get a playoff bye, making the Panthers next game Nov. 8 in the state quarterfinals.
The last time these two programs played was in 1998, meaning some of the younger players on the teams weren’t even born yet. Basically they have no history with one another, which makes this game completely about today. For Pine View, a win means a clinching of at least second place and a whole lot of time off. For Payson, there is still hope of a postseason, with a win this week or next giving the Lions a chance to play on. Cutting right to it, 1-7 Payson would need to play nearly perfect football to win at 6-2 Pine View. But stranger things have happened, and the Panthers will be missing a half-dozen starters. Fans who like the forward pass will get a delight tonight as these two teams should combine for about 70 passes.
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (33-7) — Pine View
Darren Cole (29-11) — Pine View
Parry’s spread: PV by 28
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