Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
WEDNESDAY: 3A South Preview
After playing second fiddle to Manti during each of the past two seasons in 2A North, South Summit and Millard both have their eyes set on claiming the league title in 2013.
They both have size; they both have speed; they’ve both been among 2A’s elite over the past six or seven years; and they're no strangers to success.
The revamped region — the result of Manti and Richfield jumping to 3A — has several other hopeful contenders, but the conversation justifiably starts with South Summit and Millard.
“If we find some senior leadership, we’re going to be pretty good. That’s the only question mark we have,” said South Summit coach Jerry Parker. “We have more size than I’ve ever had here, and our speed is good. I’m excited. The kids have worked pretty hard.”
Parker feels that realignment watered down 2A too much and he would’ve preferred Manti and Richfield to stay in 2A, but he understands the move will benefit the smaller 2A schools.
Millard coach Marshall Sheriff is a fan of the new region and classification.
“I think we’re even across the board. There’s obviously teams out there with more seniors and maybe a little more depth coming in, but I think 2A is as even as far as general numbers as it’s been in quite some time,” said Sheriff.
The departure of two-time champion Manti — the largest 2A school the past two years — is the No. 1 reason for increased optimism around the classification.
“It creates more of an equal playing field as far as enrollments in schools. Wherever they tell us we’re going to play we’re going to line up and play and give them our best shot, but just as far as numbers it’s much more manageable when you take the Mantis out,” said North Summit coach Devin Smith.
Even with Manti still in 2A, one could make a case that South Summit would still be the best team in 2A North.
“We have kids who can get after it. Technically we could put anybody behind them the way they block,” said Parker.
The Wildcats aren’t just putting anybody behind that line though: They’ve got some speed demons. Senior wing back Keyton Gines was fourth in the 100 meters at last year’s state track meet, while sophomore Isaac Tillett was sixth in the 200 meters.
For the first time in several years, Millard has size to match up against some of the larger 2A teams, but it’s unproven size.
“We’re really young this year. We obviously have a bunch of kids that are untested on the varsity level. It’s exciting to see what they can do. We feel they can be pretty good, but they’re not tested,” said Sherriff.
North Summit definitely lacks the size of teams like South Summit and Millard, but it has a strong senior and junior class and players are hungry to avenge last year’s disappointing 2-8 season in the 100-year anniversary of the school.
Like Millard, Gunnison doesn’t have much returning experience but coach Yori Ludvigson believes his team will be competitive nonetheless.
“It will be a fun year. It’s a good mix in the region and we should be right in the thick of it,” he said.
The rest of the region consists of American Leadership, which won just two games in 2A last year, and then Summit Academy and Layton Christian, who are making the jump from 1A.
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