Region 9 Big Picture: Must-watch football to the very end

Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – What do we want from our football experience?

Sure, we want our team to win it all, but realistically, how often does that happen. Only one 4A team will emerge from this 2017 season completely satisfied – with a championship trophy, the admiration of others and a big, fat ring.

But beyond that, what do we really want. Competitiveness? Hard work? Fair play? A chance to grab the proverbial brass ring?

Yeah, I think that’s it.

And for five of the seven teams in Region 9, it was there.

Dixie, for starters, got its second straight perfect region season. But it wasn’t easy. Dixie got humbled a bit by an out-of-state school. Snow Canyon gave the Flyers all they could handle in the region-opener. Pine View and Desert Hills were competitive. And even Cedar managed to put a little worry into Flyer fans late in the game Thursday night.

Pine View, which ended up grabbing the region’s second seed with a blowout win against Canyon View Thursday night, also found itself competing at a high level this year, winning seven of 10 games. Even the three losses were within 10 points of going the other way. Panther fans certainly aren’t satisfied with second place, but they must be pleased to know PV was right there in every game, with a look toward the state playoffs and a strong finish.

Certainly, we can feel for Snow Canyon fans. The Warriors won six of their nine games, but find themselves locked out of the 2017 playoffs. But competitiveness was the name of the game for SC this season. A three-point loss to region champ Dixie, a triple-overtime loss to Cedar and Thursday’s heartbreaking seven-point defeat at the hands of the Desert Hills Thunder are the difference for the Warriors. Hopefully Snow Canyon fans are happy their team worked hard, played fair and had a legitimate chance at grabbing that brass ring.

The Big Picture is this: Four teams will head to the 4A state tournament having been tested and tried by some excellent opponents. Region 9 kept us on the edge of our seats all season long.

Looking to the playoffs

This is no playoff preview – that’s coming later this week. Let’s call this a playoff glance.

Dixie knew its first-round opponent before Thursday’s win over Cedar – Park City (4-6). What do the Flyers expect? The Miners have barely beaten some pretty bad teams: won by one over Ben Lomond; by 14 over Payson; by eight over Logan. But Park City also stayed close with decent teams, losing by a single score to Stansbury and by nine to Tooele. Still, PC only scored over 30 once this season, and they’ll need a lot more than that to beat Dixie. Flyer potential second-round opponent: Mountain Crest.

Pine View is happy to be home and will face Tooele, a team that started the year averaging a bunch of points – 35 per game in starting the year 4-3. But in the last three games, the Buffaloes have averaged just 13 points per game and ended the regular season losing two out of three. Run-heavy Tooele relies on 1,000-yard back Jeno Bins, but the Buffs don’t have much else. These two teams met in the playoffs last year, with Pine View beating Tooele on the road 38-36. Panther potential second-round opponent: Sky View

Desert Hills heads up to Bonneville in the first round. The Lakers are only 4-6, but beat Tooele to win the tiebreaker for second place in Region 11. Bonneville is in Ogden and is a holdover 4A school from before the realignment. BHS is one of the few truly balanced offenses in the state, with a run/pass ratio of 52/48. But all you need to know about the Lakers is this: they lost to Ogden and barely beat Ben Lomond – two of the worst football programs in the state. Thunder potential second-round opponent: Orem

Cedar will takes its playoff trip to Stansbury. The 6-3 Stallions gave undefeated Sky View one of their closest games of the year (a 27-17 Bobcats win). But Stansbury also played mediocre in wins over Tooele (35-28) and Park City (22-14). The Stallions are not balanced. With a 2-1 run-pass ratio, they’d just as soon run you over. Cedar specializes in run defense. This could be the upset special of the first round. Redmen potential second-round opponent: Spanish Fork.

Region 9 drew well in getting the first round matchups vs. Region 11 and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the South go 4-0 (or 3-1 at least) in the playoff openers. But the road gets decidedly tougher after that. Teams like Sky View (9-0), Mountain Crest (9-1), and Orem (8-2) await our teams in the second round.

Thursday’s Region 9 results
Desert Hills 28, Snow Canyon 21
Dixie 44, Cedar 26
Pine View 45, Canyon View 0

REGION 9 FOOTBALL FINAL STANDINGS
1. Dixie 6-0 (9-1)
2t. Pine View 4-2 (7-3)*
2t. Desert Hills 4-2 (5-4)
4t. Cedar 3-3 (4-5)**
4t. Snow Canyon 3-3 (6-3)
6. Hurricane 1-5 (2-7)
7. Canyon View 0-6 (0-9)
* – Pine View wins tiebreak (head-to-head) with Desert Hills and is No. 2 seed
** – Cedar wins tiebreak (head-to-head) with Snow Canyon and is No. 4 seed

Next Week’s 4A first round playoff games
Upper Bracket

Salem Hills (R10-3) at Mt. Crest (R12-2), tbd
Park City (R11-4) at Dixie (R9-1), 4 p.m.
Cedar (R9-4) at Stansbury (R11-1), 4 p.m.
Ridgeline (R12-3) at Spanish Fork (R10-2), tbd
Lower Bracket
Tooele (R11-3) at Pine View (R9-2), tbd
Mt. View (R10-4) at Sky View (R12-1), tbd
Bear River (R12-4) at Orem (R10-1), tbd
Desert Hills (R9-3) at Bonneville (R11-2), tbd

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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