2A high school football preview: South Sevier vs. San Juan
Tom Smart, Deseret News
South Sevier (3-8) at San Juan (10-0)
2A state tournament semifinal
Saturday, 11 a.m. (At Pleasant Grove High School)
Parry's Power Guide: San Juan by 31
All-time series: San Juan leads 19-3
Coach vs. Coach: South Sevier's Weston Zabriskie and San Juan's Monty Lee, first meeting
Last meeting: Nov. 7, 2009 — San Juan 40, South Sevier 13 (2A semifinal)
Following South Sevier's second consecutive upset victory in the 2A playoffs last weekend, coach Weston Zabriskie joked, "a blind squirrel finds a nut every once and a while."
Seriously though, how is South Sevier still playing football and not focusing on the basketball season? It was 1-8 in the regular season, and should have been eliminated from the football playoffs weeks ago. Yet here the Rams are, preparing for a semifinal playoff game with No. 1 San Juan.
"They're playing a lot more relaxed," said Zabriskie. "When you go into the playoffs 1-8 and haven't won a game in seven tries, you don't really have pressure on you and when the pressure's off they've played a lot better and a lot harder."
During the regular season South Sevier lost to North Summit 36-8 and Enterprise 42-0. In the past two weeks it returned the favor by beating those same teams 20-14 and 6-2.
The Rams took their lumps under a new head coach earlier this season, but they've figured things out in the past couple of weeks.
"It takes a while to adjust to a new coach, but once the boys started realizing they can get it if they play as a team and just play their assignments, we've had a shot," said Zabriskie.
The feel-good story of the 2010 playoffs faces a monumental task this weekend though.
South Sevier faces undefeated San Juan in this Saturday's 11 a.m. semifinal at Pleasant Grove High School. The Broncos are only allowing 3.3 ppg this season, and they're facing a team they beat them 40-13 in last year's semifinals.
Surely the Rams will meet their match this weekend, right?
"We're just going to show up, put together the best game plan we have and hopefully we can get a break or two and maybe things will go our way," said Zabriskie. "No team is unbeatable, but San Juan is as close to unbeatable as there is."
Knowing San Juan coach Monty Lee, his team won't get caught looking past South Sevier. He's always preaching to his players to take every opponent seriously.
As excited as the Broncos might be for a potential state championship rematch against South Summit, you can bet Lee has them focused exclusively on underdog South Sevier.
San Juan is loaded with weapons heading into the semifinals. Quarterback Cameron Shumway has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,688 yards and 17 TDs. Four different receivers (Barkley Christensen, Ryan Lyman, Tyler Nielson and Stetler Shumway) have each caught over 17 passes for over 200 yards.
On the ground Colby Redd leads the way with 717 yards this season and six touchdowns. Ryan Lyman has chipped in with 380 yards and seven scores.
San Juan will need all of those weapons to move the ball against a confident South Sevier team that shockingly held Enterprise to just two points last weekend.
"You achieve greatness from great opportunities, and they have a great opportunity in front of them," said Zabriskie.
If South Sevier were to beat San Juan, it might go down as one of the biggest upsets in state history.
South Sevier statistical breakdownScoring offense: 11.7 ppg
Scoring defense: 25.6 ppg
Passing leader: Brayden Palmer (828 yards, 5 TDs)
Rushing leader: Austin Manwill (163 carries, 721 yards, 7 TDs)
Receiving leader: Logan Baker (25 receptions, 374 yards, 2 TDs)
Sacks leader: Karl Quarles (6 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Patrick Baker (4)
Note: Does not include last week's stats.
San Juan statistical breakdownScoring offense: 33.5 ppg
Scoring defense: 3.4 ppg
Passing leader: Cameron Shumway (101-175, 57.7%, 1,688 yards, 17 TDs)
Rushing leader: Colby Redd (91 carries, 717 yards, 6 TDs).
Receiving leaders: Tyler Nielsen (24 receptions, 516 yards, 5 TDs), Stetler Shumway (25 carries, 476 yards, 6 TDs)
Tackles leader: Stetler Shumway (103 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Kevin Arthur (5.5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Cameron Shumway (5 interceptions)