COMMENTARY — Confidence is a funny thing. It can create so many positive results, but can be gone in an instant.
We all know it is a real factor in everyday life. Confidence in a job interview can mean the difference between employment and the soup kitchen. Confidence when taking a test can help propel a student to the honor roll or the remedial hall. And confidence in sports can turn the tide and make a good team great, a great team better and the top teams elite.
But, confidence is not a magic elixir. That job interview will still likely result in more job searching if the applicant just isn’t qualified. That student might confidently feel prepared, but without studying, the test taker will still likely fail. And in football, if a team just doesn’t have the skill level to defeat a foe, even the highest confidence won’t be enough to get a win.
Even during the course of a game, confidence can change dramatically. A quarterback might throw 10 straight complete passes — confidence high — and then throw three straight interceptions — confidence shot.
So, the confidence level of each of the eight teams left in the 3AA playoffs, while not the deciding factor in the games, could go a long way in helping a team win, especially if the game is otherwise pretty evenly matched.
Let’s take a look at the confidence level each team should be feeling as we head into the 3AA Quarterfinals.
No. 1 seeds
Dixie (7-2) — The Flyers went through the 3AA South gauntlet with a 4-1 record, with their only loss coming in a game in which they committed seven turnovers. Dixie is averaging 38.4 points a game and is playing a Pine View team it beat two weeks ago. But, in that game the Panthers had Dixie on the ropes, up four with four minutes left and about to score. Then again, they did have a goal line stand and eventually won that game. Turnovers have been a bit of an issue the latter part of the season. But make no mistake — Confidence level = sky high.
Logan (8-2) — The Grizzlies are the hottest team in 3AA, having won seven straight games. Logan averages 33.3 points a game and went 6-0 in the 3AA North. Another confidence boost: The Grizzlies came down and beat Desert Hills soundly just two weeks ago. But, Logan does have some chinks in its armor. The Grizz lost to Sky View and Mountain Crest by a combined score of 91-6. Then again, those two 5A schools are a combined 20-1 this season. Plus, Logan is averaging 45 points a game in the last four. With one of the top players in the state in Hunter Horsley — Confidence level = sky high.
No. 2 seeds
Desert Hills (5-4) — It’s been a weird year for the Thunder. Serious injuries have taken their toll (Nephi Sewell, Zak Fuchs) and there have been a couple of big losses (Dixie, Logan). But keep in mind that DH went 4-1 in region and had some impressive performances (blowout wins over Hurricane and Snow Canyon). Desert Hills still plays rock-solid defense and still has senior quarterback Nick Warmsley — confidence level = eye high.
Tooele (7-3) — The Buffaloes are home this Friday, so that helps, and they went through the 3AA North with just the one loss to Logan. They also held the Grizzlies to just 21 points in that game. Tooele plays good defense and has one of the top rushing attacks in the state (282 yards per game). But Tooele gave up 49 points to Ben Lomond and got beat up pretty good by a very average Maple Mountain team, so confidence level = chest high.
No. 3 seed
Hurricane (6-3) — With the running game clicking, the Tigers have been very good the past two weeks in wins over Snow Canyon and Park City. The O looked good in wins over Pine View and Cedar as well, but mixed in there are a pair of blowout losses to Desert Hills and Dixie. Those have to be in the back of the mind for Hurricane. Still, Jake Carr and Nick McDaniel have never run better — confidence level = eye high.
No. 4 seed
Cedar (5-5) — The Redmen went 2-3 in the 3AA South, with the three losses coming by a combined score of 115-59. But the wins have been satisfying, no doubt, with a blowout of Snow Canyon and a home win vs. Pine View. Last week, Cedar rallied twice to get the win vs. Judge Memorial, eventually taking the lead with seven second left. But a trip into the lion’s den (or Grizzlies den) this week will be tough. Athletic Mason Fakahua gives them a shot — confidence level = knee high.
No. 5 seed
Pine View (6-4) — During their three-game losing streak mid-season, the Panthers confidence was shot. But a win at 4A Murray, followed by a close game against Dixie and then last week’s road playoff win at Bear River, has given PV a renewed confidence. Pine View averages just 23 points a game, but surrenders only 19. Having Riley Livingston back at QB — and his desire to throw it to sticky-fingered Steve Bangerter — helps — confidence level = chest high.
No. 6 seed
Snow Canyon (5-5) — Confidence isn’t what won the game against Stansbury, but it certainly helped. SC went in knowing it could run the football and knowing that the 3AA South schedule had prepared the Warriors for battle. More than 300-rushing yards later, SC had the big win. Facing Desert Hills is another story. It’s hard to forget that 35-0 pasting DH put on the Warriors last time around. If the Warriors can purge that memory and the loss vs. Hurricane, things could be different this time. Plus, QB Jackson Nowatzke is playing well — confidence level = chest high.
Friday’s 3AA quarterfinal playoff matchups:
Cedar (5-5) at Logan (8-2), 3 p.m. — 590-AM KSUB
Pine View (6-4) at Dixie (7-2), 5 p.m. — CEC-TV, 97.7 FM ESPN SportRadio
Hurricane (6-3) at Tooele (7-3), 5 p.m.
Snow Canyon (5-5) at Desert Hills (5-4), 7 p.m. — 890-AM KDXU
Morgan blasted through the field of the 3A State Tournament last week, with the Trojans avenging last year’s championship match loss to Snow Canyon by beating the Warriors in straight sets.
Congrats to the Trojans, who reportedly have four college-level seniors on their squad.
As for the Warriors, we have been fortunate to see the quality effort put in over the years by SC coach Alaina Parker. She participates, not only in high school coaching, but the development of her players (and others) in the offseason. Parker announced this would be her last season at the start of the year.
She led Snow Canyon to six state championships, including five in a row from 2006-2010. The UHSAA even bumped the Warriors up to 4A for four of those years, but it didn’t matter as Parker and her gang won at the higher level as well.
Hopefully we’ll see Alaina and her husband, Hurricane football/baseball coach Jeff Parker, around still. Always courteous, always professional, always kind, Alaina Parker will be missed.
This Week In Region 9 is a sports column written by Andy Griffin. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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