Region 9 football preview: Canyon View Falcons looking to soar on offense, tighten up on defense

CEDAR CITY — Led by a promising crop of receivers and a developing young quarterback, the Canyon View Falcons football team has already matched last year’s win total thanks to a convincing 40-13 home win over Payson in the season opener last Friday.

Canyon View head football coach Chris Sawyers talks to players during practice, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Chris Sawyers, now in his third year as the Falcons’ head coach, notes that returning quarterback Jake Garrett started the team’s final four games last season as a freshman. 

“He’s a young vet who throws the ball well and has great poise,” Sawyers said of Garrett.

Garrett threw four touchdown passes against Payson, three of them in the first half as the Falcons opened up a 20-6 lead at halftime. Garrett finished the game with 282 passing yards, completing 18-of-28 attempts.

Among the expected recipients of Garrett’s passes this season are returning wide receivers Jake Tom, Tyler Maine and Kody Callison. Each caught at least one pass during the season opener, with Maine leading the way with 117 yards on seven receptions, two of which were for touchdowns.

Additionally, Michael McCalister, a senior who recently moved from California, is also expected to add further depth to the wide receiver position, as will junior Tyler Barton, who also started at defensive back last year. Barton caught a 60-yard TD reception Friday against Payson.

Canyon View receiver Tyler Barton catches a touchdown pass against Payson, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 14, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Canyon View’s ground attack is expected to be led by a handful of capable backs, including Gunner Hatch, Brayden Floyd, Gabe Lake and Tommy English.

Sawyers said the Falcons will be making an extra effort to improve the team’s defensive capabilities. Canyon View gave up an average of 43.5 points per game last year, its best defensive effort coming in its lone win, a 32-20 home win over Region 9 rival Hurricane in midseason. The Falcons ended up falling to Cedar Valley in the first round of the 4A state playoffs, 40-19.

“We’ve gotta be a lot better on defense,” Sawyers said. “I’ve kind of stepped away from calling the offense and moved over more to the defensive side.”

“We have a really good kicker this year and he’s a good punter as well,” Sawyers said of junior Gavin Barlow. “That’s gonna help the defense lift the field a little bit.”

“I think we’ll be tremendously better on defense,” Sawyers added. “We’ve tried to get as many kids involved as we possibly can.”

Canyon View’s second week opponent is the Grand County Red Devils, a 3A team from Moab, with the Falcons hosting the game at 7 p.m. The Falcons will then face Enterprise Wolves, also at Canyon View, on Aug. 28, after which they’ll open the Region 9 slate on the road against Snow Canyon on Sept. 4.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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