Syracuse went into last year's state playoffs as the fourth-place finisher from Region 1, then shocked a lot of folks by using — no surprise here — a fierce defensive effort to notch road wins over Alta and West.
That put the Titans in the state semifinals, where they dropped an overtime heartbreaker to league rival Fremont.
But this year's team won't be able to sneak in under the radar like the Titans did last year. They're ranked No. 2 in the state by the Deseret News and are one of the top contenders for the title.
Jones admitted that last year's underdog role was more to his liking.
"I like our record better this year, for sure, but I like flying under the radar," he said. "We want to come out and play a good game every time, but I'd just as soon be the underdog as the top dog.
"Last year there was not a lot of pressure on us, but I don't see our kids under a lot of pressure this year, either. I don't see it in our kids at all. They're humble and hungry to play the next game, and even though they're undefeated, they don't have a big head and don't trash talk at all. They're just what you want out of your guys.
"They're really good kids who work hard. Now we just want 'em to keep our heads on straight and stay the course."
Viewmont, meanwhile, started its season with six straight losses, then won two league games. But the Vikings, who have only scored more than 16 points in a game once all season, have lost their last two.
And their weakness — scoring points — plays right into the Titans' strength — not allowing many, if any.
So Syracuse will be heavily favored to win. And to possibly live up to that age-old adage. You know the one — something about defense winning championships.
Viewmont statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 11.9 ppg
Scoring defense: 28.0 ppg
Passing leader: Not provided
Rushing leaders: Not provided
Receiving leaders: Not provided
Tackles leaders: Not provided
Sack leaders: Not provided
Interception leaders: Not provided
Syracuse statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 31.0 ppg
Scoring defense: 7.7 ppg
Passing leader: Brock Anderson (115-168, 68.5%, 1,469 yards, 20 TDs, 1 INT)
Rushing leaders: Mason Woodward (135 carries, 599 yards, 6 TDs), Brock Anderson (80 carries, 339 yards)
Receiving leaders: Kiwa Mo’o (23 rec., 361 yards, 5 TDs), Diante Mitchell (28 rec., 309 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Wyatt German (82 tackles), Kavika Fonua (68 tackles)
Sack leaders: Jace Purser (7.5 sacks), Cardon Malon (7 sacks)
Interception leaders: Diante Mitchell (4 INTs), Kavika Fonua (3 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Viewmont High School
All-time record: 207-285-2 (49 years)
Region championships: 4 (1972, 1973, 1974 co, 2011)
Playoff appearances: 23 (Including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 15-21
State championships: 1 (1971)
State championship record: 1-1
Felt’s Factoid(s): Viking Cole Miles returned a missed field goal 99 yards in 2003 to set a record for the longest missed field goal return.
Felt’s Facts for Syracuse High School
All-time record: 41-23 (6 years)
Region championships: 1 (2012)
Playoff appearances: 5 (Including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 5-4
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Felt’s Factoid(s): Syracuse is one of just 11 schools to have a perfect playoff record on its home field (2-0).
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