High school soccer: East atop list of 4A soccer contenders

Published: Tuesday, May 15 2012 12:02 a.m. MDT

West and East play Friday, March 23, 2012. West won 3-2.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The East High Leopards have topped the 4A rankings all season long, leading Region 6 with a 12-4 record. Though the Leopards are very capable contenders, head coach Rudy Schenk is the first to admit, "it's a wide open race."

"I think it could go to about anybody," Schenk said when discussing the 4A playoff bracket.

Able teams come from each and every region, making the outcome extremely tough to predict. The Leopards are the most viable threat in Region 6 with a well-distributed offensive effort.

"We don't have to rely on one person," Schenk said. "The way the scores are distributed on our team speaks to the fact that we're a team, we try to play as a team, and it doesn't matter who gets the goal."

Jason Cook anchors the East defense. Cook led as quarterback for the East High football team, and stands as an emotional leader on the soccer field as well. James Barker is crucial up front and goalkeeper Gavin Van Minde orchestrates things in the back.

Also out of Region 6, Woods Cross and Bountiful are hot on the Leopards' heels. The Wild Cats defeated East in April and Bountiful fell by a narrow 2-1 margin in both contests.

Leading Region 5 with a coin toss over Logan is the Roy High Royals. Roy finished with the best Region 5 record (8-2) and outscored opponents 42-11.

"Our region was tough. We have some good teams in there," coach Glenn Puckrin said. "Each and every game was a competitive game. It was a challenge and I really think it will help heading into the playoffs."

Roy dropped to 4A this year after gaining invaluable experience in 5A's Region 1 in 2011.

Logan, the no. 2 seed out of Region 5, posted several big wins including a 3-2 victory over the Royals after tying Weber in the preseason. Bonneville boasts a scoring threat in Gage Woodward. Woodward acts as the offensive spark and has scored 15 goals.

Region 8 featured an all-out battle between top teams, Mountain View, Orem, and Timpanogos.

Mountain View snagged the No. 1 seed with an impressive 12-3-1 overall record. They suffered losses to Orem, their region runner up, and Timpview.

Chris Reyes, one of the state's top scorers, is crucial to the Bruins' playoff success. The forward leads the team with 19 goals.

Orem defeated Mountain View just last week, 2-0 thanks to Matt Gay and Jake Thompson. Matt Gay is also among the states leading scorers and will surely be a target for the Bountiful Braves in the first round.

All four of the teams in Region 7 are more than capable of going home with the crown. Murray has been the biggest surprise, upsetting Bingham in the preseason before posting several big wins in region play.

Olympus ousted Murray, however, on Fri. May 4. The Titans boast an 11-3 overall record. The region is possibly the biggest wild card of class 4A, as all four teams have suffered both bouts of inconsistency and moments of brilliance.

email: jwilde@desnews.com

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