GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Tooele (3-6, 2-4) at Snow Canyon (6-3, 3-3), Warriors Stadium, tonight, 7 p.m.
Previous Meeting: Warriors 34, Buffaloes 0 (Aug. 24, 2004 at Snow Canyon)
Broadcast: 890-KDXU AM with Andy Griffin on play by play
Classification: 3AA, North Region
Coach: Kyle Brady (3rd year, 4-25 overall)
Last game: Beat Ben Lomond 53-27
Players to watch: Jake Brady is the QB for Tooele, but he averages just seven pass attempts per game and has more interceptions than touchdowns. Obviously, the Buffs want to run the ball and Adam Pace will get the heaviest load. He leads the team with 913 yards and 9 TDs this year. Ryan Brady and Stratton Adderly also will see touches at RB. Lawson Ross provides some threat at WR, though Pace and Ryan Brady also catch balls out of the backfield. Defensively, the Buffaloes are led by linebacker Jonathan Ficken (43 tackles) and DL Maka Kioa (8.5 sacks).
Trend: Tooele actually gave Stansbury a game early in October, trailing just 14-13 late in the third quarter before eventually falling 21-13. But the Buffs struggled vs. Juan Diego (49-6 loss) and dropped games to Bear River (62-48) and Park City (24-21). Tooele secured fifth place with season-closing wins vs. Uintah (20-18) and Ben Lomond (53-27). Pace has been especially good those last two games, rushing for 361 yards.
Classification: 3AA, South Region
Coach: Marcus Matua (1st year, 6-3 overall)
Offense: Single Wing/Spread
Last game: Lost to Dixie 28-13
Players to watch: At long last, QB Warner Rigby will be back tonight. He missed virtually the entire South Region season, with Jake Frei filling in during Rigby’s absence. Rigby will provide a dynamic at QB, though Frei still may be the better passer. Even with Rigby back, the most important player on the field will still be Zach Kennedy. The senior RB has rushed and caught for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns combined. He and Conner Parry have been an excellent 1-2 punch this year. Trevor Horlacher has also contributed at RB, but his real strength is on defense where he and Brady Sargent are always around the ball (combined 157 tackles this season). DBs Richmond Anderson and Caleb Heward had two INTs each last week.
Trend: Back to back losses are not what Matua and company had planned to close the season, but SC competed hard in both games. The Warriors had high hopes for the year, especially after a 6-1 start. But a home playoff game is nothing to sneeze at and the play of the Snow Canyon defense in recent weeks has been excellent. Although it’s a new era at Snow Canyon, it’s worth noting that the Warriors have never lost a home playoff game. Although the scheme is different from those Bill Jacobsen teams in the 1990s, the goal is the same: Run the ball and win the battle in the trenches.
Got a plane to catch? You’ll have time as this game could finish in two hours. Both teams are very run-heavy and look at the forward pass as just an occasional diversion. Snow Canyon has the better athletes and should be able to exploit a Buffaloes defense that surrendered 30 points a game this season. For Tooele, the offensive is explosive enough to put up some big numbers. Pace has been very good lately and no doubt SC will be focusing its defensive game plan around stopping him, so someone else may have to step up. But who?
STGnews (record) PREDICTION
Andy Griffin (40-7) — Snow Canyon
Darren Cole (35-12) — Snow Canyon
Parry’s spread: Snow Canyon by 33
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