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Note: Pine View finished with a 4-5 overall record and was 2-4 in Region 9 in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs.
ST. GEORGE — During what turned out to be a decisive four-game stretch for Pine View last year, the Panthers’ defense simply couldn’t get stops.
Despite an offense that featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, Pine View lost to Dixie, Desert Hills, Cedar and Hurricane on consecutive Friday nights in September that officially eliminated coach Ray Hosner’s team from playoff contention.
A year later, Hosner is focused on the little things to get Pine View back to its traditional winning ways.
“We just need to be disciplined. No excuses. We didn’t play disciplined last year and that’s my fault. I didn’t do a lot of things in the offseason that I usually do. I was in a little accident so I was slowed down a little bit. But we’re back to basics and doing the things we need to do,” said Hosner.
Better discipline might’ve made a difference in a 35-33 loss to Dixie, a 21-14 loss to Desert Hills or a 35-28 setback to Cedar last season. With a win in just one of those games, Pine View might’ve snuck into the playoffs.
As much as Pine View is focused on toughening up defensively for those Region 9 slug fests, it’s no secret this team will live or die with the offense.
Kody Wilstead was a part-time starter as a freshman last year, but the 6-foot-6 quarterback is poised for a breakout season as a sophomore. Senior Prentiss Miller rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons, and Hosner expects to lean on him even more this year.
Playing behind an offensive line that includes a pair of D1 recruits, it’s easy to see why expectations are high for the Panthers.
Senior center Logan Stott, who has committed to the University of Arizona, is a four-year starter for the Panthers. Fellow senior Kody Boyer, who has committed to Utah State, is a three-year starter.
Stott and Boyer are among seven returning starters on offense for Pine View, but they might be the most important.
Despite Wilstead gaining valuable experience last season sharing time with running QB Braxton Peterson, the bottom line is he’s still extremely raw. Even though he has a cannon for an arm, he’ll need time to find open receivers. Until Wilstead starts making aggressive defenses pay, Hosner fully expects opposing defensive coordinators to do everything in their power to confuse the sophomore.
“I think a lot of teams are going to be doing certain things to Kody, so we’ve got to be able to run the ball,” said Hosner. “(Prentiss Miller) has got to carry the team. When people are doing certain things to us, he’s got to be able to carry the ball and make plays.”
Pine View won’t have to wait long to test itself against quality opposition. The Panthers travel to East and Orem the first two weeks of the season, and both 4A opponents are expected to be very good this season.
“We have two great games coming out of the shoot to make sure we’re ready,” said Hosner.
After a Week 3 game against Uintah, Pine View heads into Region 9 play in September with an identical four-week grind against Dixie, Desert Hills, Cedar and Hurricane. Hosner believes increased toughness and discipline should help the Panthers win a few of those games this year.
Pine View Panthers at a glance
Coach: Ray Hosner is entering his 12th season as Pine View’s head coach with a career record of 94-33. He’s a graduate of Jamison Madison High School in New York.