Note: This is one of six football previews for the upcoming 3AA South Region season, which begins Thursday and Friday nights.
ST. GEORGE – A quick scan of the UHSAA’s record book – specifically the passing page – will reveal a lot about Pine View football over the past dozen or so years. The Panthers and coach Ray Hosner love to throw the football.
And while fans can fondly remember the likes of James Lark, Alec Mecham and recently graduated Kody Wilstead, the fact remains that none of those guys was able to win that one big game, the state championship. Riley Livingston, Pine View’s latest gunslinger, hopes he can help lift the Panthers to the top of that hill.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I was very fortunate to be Kody’s understudy. I’m not too worried. I feel confident in myself and I think we’ll do good things this year. I don’t feel pressure at all. I’m ready.”
Livingston is quick to point out that football is a team game and he feels comfortable and at home with his teammates.
“I know my team’s got my back,” he said. “Our line is great. We have some great receivers. There’s a lot to be excited about here.”
The brotherhood theme is a strong one at Pine View camp heading into Friday night’s season opener (vs. Judge Memorial at Panther Stadium).
“Losing in the semifinals last year is not what makes me hungry,” said O-lineman CJ Bratten, who is known as a maniac in the weight room. “It’s just out here playing with my team, that’s what drives me, seeing these guys get better every single day. I just want to have fun with my friends and just enjoy this last year.”
Linebacker Kyle Tauiliili echoed Bratten’s sentiment.
“We’re hungry this year,” he said. “We want to step it up this year on defense to help the offense out, help our brothers out.”
With 21 seniors gone from last year, including big names like Wilstead, running back Pano Tiatia, receivers Colton Miller and Bladen Hosner and defenders Gage Afatasi and Blake Ence, it won’t be easy to duplicate 2014’s region co-championship. But defense may just be the key.
“Every year’s a hard transition because Region 9’s so tough,” Hosner said. “But tradition never graduates and these guys have worked hard so they can live up to those expectations. Defense is a strong part of our team, but I think our offense is pretty good as well. This is the closest group of kids I’ve ever coached. They really like each other.”
A key contributor on offense will be senior Steve Bangerter, who will move from tight end to wide receiver. It’s been a long time since there wasn’t a Bangerter (remember Adam, Wil, Jack?) on the roster, but Steve is the last Bang-train to leave the station.
“Growing up with Jack as my brother helps a lot,” Steve said. “I’ve always had people to look up to. It’s been a long run, growing up watching my brothers. There’s no pressure to play well this year, but definitely excitement. And it’s sad to see it end. I do have some nephews, but that will be awhile.”
With Tiatia graduated, the RB position is wide open. Hosner said he likes the thunder and lightning combination of Kobe Topalian and Kawika Santiago. Topalian is a senior power back, while Santiago is a much ballyhooed junior who was known for his long breakaway runs at the lower levels. Dillan Robertson will also figure in the RB mix, though his focus will mainly be on the other side of the ball at defensive end.
Hosner said he likes his line, with returning starters Bratten, Jayden Smith and Tyler Heaton, as well as part-time starter Lornzo Tupe.
With Tauiliili and Brooks Barney back at linebacker, Pine View should be solid in the middle. But new DBs Jacob Mpungi and D’Angelo Mpungi will be tested in the pass-happy 3AA South.
The Panthers were 8-3 last season and one of those losses was to Judge, with a missed field goal at the end of the game sending the Panthers to defeat in Salt Lake City. Friday’s game is in St. George and the Panthers definitely remember the close loss from last year.
“Yeah, we can’t wait to get back out on the field with them,” Hosner said.
With a new quarterback and an improved defense, it could be another nailbiter.
Pine View File
Head coach: Ray Hosner (15th season, 118-43 overall); Offensive coordinator: Scott Anderson; Defensive coordinator: Brett Gifford.
Last year: 8-3, lost to Dixie in the 3AA semifinals
Returnees: offense 4, defense 3
|Fri. Aug. 21, 2015||Judge Memorial||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Aug. 28, 2015||at Uintah||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Sept. 4, 2015||Manti||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Sept. 18, 2015||at Snow Canyon||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Sept. 25, 2015||Hurricane||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Oct. 2, 2015||Desert Hills||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Oct. 9, 2015||at Cedar||7:00 p.m.|
|Wed. Oct. 14, 2015||at Murray||7:00 p.m.|
|Fri. Oct. 23, 2015||at Dixie||7:00 p.m.|
2015 Key Players
Offense — The spotlight will clearly be on Livingston, who has Bangerter as a security blanket, then a whole new fleet of receivers, including Weston Ivison and Caden Bringhurst. The O-line is solid, with Heaton, Bratten and Smith leading the way, but how good will new RBs Santiago and Topalian be?
Defense — Barney and Tauiliili are tackling machines and Heaton and Robertson will be tough up front, but the DBs are untested at the varsity level. Tupe, Topalian and Mason Wiley will also be key figures on defense for a team that lost eight starters off of last year’s team.
|Judge Memorial 18, Pine View 16 Final|
|Pine View 42, Agassi Prep, Nev. 7 Final|
|Pine View 41, Lehi 7 Final|
|Pine View 59, Snow Canyon 28 Final|
|Pine View 42, Dixie 36 Final|
|Desert Hills 35, Pine View 21 Final|
|Pine View 46, Cedar 24 Final|
|Pine View 29, Hurricane 14 Final|
|Pine View 49, Payson 20 Final|
|Pine View 45, Cedar 10 Final|
|Dixie 38, Pine View 28 Final|
Last 5 years
2014 — 8-3 (5-1 in 3AA South – 3AA semifinals)
2013 — 9-3 (5-1 in 3AA South – 3AA runner-up)
2012 — 7-4 (3-3 in Region 9 – 3A first round)
2011 — 4-5 (2-4 in Region 9 – missed playoffs)
2010 — 7-4 (4-2 in Region 9 – 3A quarterfinals)
Email: [email protected]
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