Payson is back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus, but the Lions haven't won a postseason contest since 1983, going 0-7 in the interim. Kearns is 0-8 in playoff action since 1993 and Region 2 mate Granger is 0-7 since 1997.
Milford hopes to nab its first state contest since 1999, going 0-10 since. North Sanpete has lost eight straight playoff games since 2002 and Maple Mountain attempts to get its first-ever playoff victory in three tries.
First-round games matching teams with the best records: Granger (7-3) at Northridge (8-2) and Timpanogos (7-3) at Mountain Crest (8-2); Brighton (8-4) at Lone Peak (8-2). In the 2A quarterfinals, Manti (8-1) hosts Beaver (8-2).
Only two teams with winning records failed to quality: Roy and Snow Canyon, both 6-4. But as happened last year, 16 teams with losing records made the tournament "led" this year by Viewmont's 2-8 mark.
The season saw 32 coaching changes and half of those coaches advanced to the playoffs. Of the the 22 who are first-time mentors in Utah high schools, eight took their teams to the tourney: Kirk Chambers (Spanish Fork), Gary Clark (Westlake), Greg Crowshaw (Cottonwood), Carl Franke (Desert Hills), Scott Gorringe (Summit Academy), Steve Marlowe (Skyline), Matt Roberts (North Sanpete) and Cary Whittingham (Timpview).
Six of eight who had previous head-coaching experience, but are new to their school also qualified for postseason action: Steve Coburn (Wasatch), Les Hamilton (Pleasant Grove), Scott Henderson (Hunter), Matt Labrum (Union), Justin Spencer (Woods Cross) and Cecil Thomas (Granger).
Both coaches, Jerry Cowan (Duchesne) and Jim Dandy (Monument Valley), who returned to their previous schools, are in the tournament, too.
First-time Matchups (5)
(4A) Timpanogos at Mountain Crest, East at Herriman, Box Elder at Maple Mountain; (3A) Payson at Desert Hills, Union at Stansbury.
While these games link schools for the first time, Mountain Crest's Mark Wootton defeated Timpanogos' Ed Larson in 2005 when Larson was at Ogden.
2012 Season Rematches
(5A) Riverton at Alta (Hawks won 19-7 at home on Sept. 7, Week 4); Cottonwood at Bingham (Miners prevailed 34-14 at Cottonwood on Sept. 14, Week 5); (1A) Altamont at Diamond Ranch (DR won 20-19 at home on Sept. 7, Week 4); Milford at Duchesne (Eagles dominated 47-6 at home on Sept. 7, Week 4); Summit Academy at Monticello (Bucks triumphed 20-17 at home on Sept. 21, Week 6).
Region Champ Update
With East and Timpview forfeiting games, Bountiful and Woods Cross in Region 6, and Maple Mountain and Orem in Region 8, were crowned in their places, respectively. Woods Cross claimed just its second-ever region title and first since 1988, while Bountiful captured its 12th and second in three years.
Thanks to Timpview's forfeits covering the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Maple Mountain suddenly finds itself the owner of consecutive region championships, the first titles for the four-year-old school. Orem picked up its 25th region trophy and first since 2004.
Undefeated Regular Seasons
Five teams celebrated the regular season with unblemished records. Duchesne claimed its second straight and third overall, Juan Diego got its fourth and first since 2008, San Juan grabbed its third in a row and seventh in its history, while Stansbury and Syracuse completed their first-ever unbeaten campaigns.
Because of Timpview's forfeit to Maple Mountain, the Golden Eagles now have nine victories this season, the most in school history.
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