High school football preview: Region 10 teams look to rebound
For Region 10, last year was, well, forgettable.
Out of the four teams that qualified for the postseason, only one — Juan Diego — advanced to the quarterfinals, only to be upset by Spanish Fork.
For a region with a rich history of winning, it was extremely uncharacteristic. In the past five years, five of the six teams had advanced to the semifinals at least one time and combined for six total trips along with a 3-1 record in the state championship game.
"I think it's a good region," Judge Memorial coach James Cordova said. "Park City has been a semifinalist. Juan Diego is always competing. I really think that Uintah is not a team to overlook. They have a lot of talent and a lot of young kids that have a lot of experience."
Cordova expects the region to return to its winning ways in 2012.
"I think it'll be a pretty good region," he said. "Juan Diego returns their starting offensive and defensive lines and in high school football (that) makes all the difference.
"Wasatch should be pretty stacked," Cordova continued. "Uintah had a lot of good looking kids and Union always has a lot of kids, it's just getting them focused on football."
This year, nothing changes. Juan Diego is the king of the castle. At this juncture, it almost seems more logical to believe the world actually will end in December than it is to think Juan Diego won't win the region championship.
In the second year of the high school realignment, the Soaring Eagle did exactly what they've done every year since 2003 — take region. In fact, Juan Diego has won 44 out of its last 45 region games, including 31 consecutive with its last loss on Sept. 30, 2005 against North Sanpete.
"Juan Diego is definitely the toughest team in our region," Cordova said.
That leaves Judge Memorial, Wasatch and Park City nestled in the middle, basically interchangeable for the Nos. 2-4 playoff seeds.
The region should see a boost in offensive production in 2012 with the majority of the six programs returning at least five starters.
Last season, all four teams that qualified for the 3A postseason averaged over 24 points per game. Juan Diego and Judge both exceeded 33 ppg.
Region 10 projections
(Preseason rankings are based on coaches' votes)
1. JUAN DIEGO: The Soaring Eagle once again are considered one of the top programs in the 3A classification and are expected to contend for the state championship. JD returns six starters on the offensive side. With Jeff Ika (6-0, 285-pounds), Zack Schekel (5-11, 230-pounds) and Cameron Rokich (6-6, 232-pounds) quarterback Nick Markosian will have ample time to properly make his reads. Walter Kauhaahaa, a big, physical back, should also benefit from the experienced offensive line. On defense, Dakota Cox (6-2, 225) is an intuitive, agile linebacker who might be the best player in the 3A. He has already signed with Cincinnati after recording 92 tackles as a junior. 2011 RECORD: 10-2. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Spanish Fork in quarterfinals.
2. JUDGE MEMORIAL: Quarterback Joe Cremer saw limited action last season under center, but the 6-foot-1 senior-to-be made the most of his time. He completed 50 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 21 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Defensively, however, is where Judge will win games. The Bulldogs return significant contributors, specifically Matt Crispo, Matt Lewis, Pat Neville and junior Sosefo Falemaka. 2011 RECORD: 7-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Cedar in first round.