Delta (3-7) at Hurricane (8-1)
3A state tournament first round
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Hurricane by 34
All-time series: Delta leads 30-11
Coach vs. coach: Hurricane’s Chris Homer leads Delta’s Russ Henrie, 4-3
Last meeting: Nov. 11, 2010 (3A semifinals) — Hurricane 38, Delta 7
Spin it, twist it, mold it, craft it anyway one foreseeably can imagine. It’s impossible to hide the fact that Hurricane is a massive, King Kongish favorite in its 3A state tournament first-round pairing with Delta.
But stranger things have certainly happened in the postseason and Hurricane coach Chris Homer doesn’t want to be surprised by the “Rabbit in the hat.”
“I think one of the main things when you play a (traditional) program like Delta is they always believe they can win, even when they maybe struggled in the regular season,” Homer said. “It seems like they’re always capable (of) maybe winning a game they shouldn’t. It always seems like nobody would expect them to win and somehow they pull it off. They’re always moving on and getting playoff wins.”
All the pressure will be on Hurricane (8-1) and justifiably so. The Tigers are the defending 3A state champions and up until their recent triple-overtime loss to Desert Hills they had won 20 straight games. In the past four years, Hurricane is 56-8 with an appearance in the state championship each year.
The residue of the 46-38 loss to the Thunder on Oct. 11 still remains and Homer is using it as bulletin board material to elude a letdown against the Rabbits at Hurricane High Friday at 5 p.m.
“We let one slip away there. I think we’re a bit disappointed not only in ourselves but we all, (and) it’s kind of funny, but we feel like we’ve been good for - this is our fifth year, and as soon as we lost that game we’ve been disrespected by everybody,” he said. “I don’t think anybody expects us to repeat now. We’re using that, as coaches. We’re trying to motivate our team as more of the underdog and being disrespected role. In all the polls we dropped big time, no matter where you look.
“I think we got a pretty hungry group and we’re still trying to prove that we’re one of the better teams in 3A and the only way to do that is by winning.”
Delta (3-7) stuttered into the 2012 campaign with five consecutive losses, but has since won three of its final five games. Offensively, lining up in an inverted wishbone, the Rabbits have begun to string together scoring drives behind skill players Ezra Seui and Kale Leavitt.
With both teams primarily operating on the ground the game could easily be over before fans finish their Sour Patch Kids.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s running two hours and 15 minutes,” Homer joked. “It’s supposed to cool down and the wind blowing like it does here in the fall it could be a two-hour game.”
The Tigers, despite having weapons Jared Edwards (1,020 yards and 22 TDs) and Adam Thompson (559 yards and eight TDs) in the backfield, need junior quarterback Adlai Elison to play within his means.
Elison, who Homer described as a “super high energy kid” and a “scary running back that can throw the ball,” inherited the reins when starter Zac Prince sustained a season ending injury against Desert Hills. Prince had thrown for 785 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception.
“He’s working on a game and a half of quarterbacking and if we’re really going to make a run this year he’s going to have to be good. Offensively, our focus it to improve his decision making and his ability to complete passes and manage our offense,” Homer said. “We don’t ever ask our quarterbacks to win games for us but we do ask them to manage a game. So, he needs to make good decisions first and foremost.”
Delta has packed Hurricane’s bags in the first round before. In 2007, the Rabbits won 6-0 at Hurricane. Homer reminded the team of the past history at practice Monday.
“We’re expecting them to give us everything they have,” he said. “Of course, with playoff time that’s all you’re going to see is a bunch of seniors making sure it’s not their last game.”
Delta statistical breakdown
(Note: Only includes stats through Week 7)
Scoring offense: 20.0 ppg
Scoring defense: 23.8 ppg
Passing leader: Hunter Johnson (14-31, 45.2%, 263 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Ezra Seui (128 carries, 752 yards, 9 TDs), Kale Leavitt (45 carries, 230 yards, 7 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Zach Smith (5 rec., 124 yards, 0 TDs)
Tackles leaders: McKay Shamo (40 tackles), Hunter Johnson, Kale Leavitt, Dallin Christensen (31 tackles)
Sack leaders: Not provided
Interception leaders: Not provided
Hurricane statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 31.3 ppg
Scoring defense: 18.8 ppg
Passing leader: Zac Prince (48-68, 70.6%, 785 yards 6 TDs, 1 INT)
Rushing leaders: Jared Edwards (188 carries, 1,020 yards, 22 TDs), Adam Thompson (64 carries, 559 yards, 8 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Keanu Stevenson (9 rec., 204 yards, 2 TDs), Adam Thompson (9 rec., 187 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles leaders: Andy Perkins (65 tackles), Sean Hafen (49 tackles)
Sack leader: Bennett Heyrend (1.5 sacks)
Interception leader: Koy Gubler (5 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Delta High School
All-time record: 515-266-24 (90 years)
Region championships: 30 (1927, 1930 co, 1931, 1932 co, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1947 co, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970 co, 1975, 1976 co, 1977, 1983 co, 1986, 1991 co, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003 co, 2004 co, 2005 co, 2009 co, 2010, 2011)
Playoff appearances: 52 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 63-42
State championships: 9 (1938, 1966, 1968, 1975, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2001)
State championship record: 9-3
Felt’s Factoid(s): Delta has made the state playoffs a state-record 38 straight years, every season since 1975.
Felt’s Facts for Hurricane High School
All-time record: 291-290-12 (63 years)
Region championships: 10 (1965 co, 1980, 1982, 1989 co, 1990, 2005, 2008, 2009 co, 2010 co, 2011, 2012 co)
Playoff appearances: 32 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 25-30
State championships: 1 (2011)
State championship record: 1-6
Felt’s Factoid(s): Hurricane made the most improvement in one season in state history, going from 1-8 in 2004 to 12-1 in 2005. ... Tiger Lance Gubler holds the career interception record, 34, set from 1980-82.