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Note: Canyon View finished with a 2-7 overall record and was last in Region 9 with an 0-6 record in 2011. It did not qualify for the playoffs
CEDAR CITY — In his four years at the helm of Canyon View’s football program, Alex Huxford’s teams haven’t won a single game in Region 9.
The struggles in Region 9 aren’t a recent trend either. In the past decade Canyon View has won just two league games, a 14-6 win over Cedar in 2005 and a 13-7 triumph over Hurricane in 2003.
“It’s kind of the same thing around here. I feel the reason we haven’t been successful in our region is we have a hard time matching up with people up front. We haven’t been able to win the battle in the trenches,” said Huxford. “We’re not as good up front as we need to be to compete.”
Canyon View’s linemen aren’t any bigger this season either, but there’s a renewed energy under first-year line coach Keith Rigtrup. A former player at the University of Iowa under Hayden Fry, Rigtrup is focused on trying to improve the technique, execution and toughness of this year’s group.
If the players make the necessary strides the coaching staff is hoping for, Canyon View might actually be a threat to win a game or two in Region 9 this year.
At the Ute Shoot 7-on-7 football camp earlier this summer the Falcons posted a 6-1 record. At Southern Utah’s camp, they won the majority of their games as well.
“When we go live to real football we struggle,” said Huxford. “Football’s a game of leverage. It’s hard to establish leverage when you don’t have enough lead in your shorts.”
A couple of juniors might help in that department.
Rigtrup’s son, Brooks, has decent size and gained a bit of varsity experience at the end of his sophomore year. Fellow junior Brycen Bybee also has a bit of size, and Huxford said the two underclassmen might be the best offensive linemen on the team.
If Canyon View’s line gives junior quarterback Koy Huxford some protection this year, he’s poised to have a strong year.
Realistically, the offensive line will be outmatched again this season, but the coaching staff might have found an alternative to size.
“We ran a lot of no huddle at the end of last year and in camp this summer,” said coach Huxford. “It seems like when we run no-huddle offense we have better tempo and rhythm because we can use our lack of size to our advantage 'cause the defense doesn’t have a chance to huddle.”
One thing coach Huxford hopes for is that Koy will be smarter with the football this year after throwing nine interceptions last year vs. just three touchdowns. His father has been stressing throughout the summer the importance of living to play another down.
Collectively, all 11 starters on offense will need to play better if the Falcons are to improve upon their 10 ppg last year.
Defensively, Canyon View allowed the second-most points in 3A a year ago at 37 ppg, which is again a huge concern as an undersized team playing in the best region in 3A.
Canyon View is counting on experience at linebacker with returning starters Connelly, Jesse Johnson and Bailey Pederson.
Huxford has high hopes for Connelly.