High school football: New Southern Utah 3AA region lacks clear-cut favorite
4. PINE VIEW: There are major voids to fill after the graduation of a 2,100-yard rusher and four offensive linemen, but Pine View is excited about moving forward with a healthy QB. Junior Kody Wilstead missed 4 1/2 games with injury last year, but still threw for 1,120 yards and 13 TDs. He’s bulked up to 218 pounds, and he’s arguably one of the best in Class 3AA. Question marks at O-line could impact his productivity as Germo Fierro is the lone offensive line starter back. If the newcomers fill in well, Pano Tiatia could be in line for a fantastic season at running back. Defensively, Thor Katoa and Kaden Creager anchor what should be a stronger linebacking corps. 2012 RECORD: 7-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Spanish Fork in first round.
5. CEDAR: A year after winning just one game, Cedar is hoping for a quick bounce-back season with a handful of starters. Improved play at fullback could be the key. Dallin Grover and Dallin Brooks are talented fullbacks who will see increased carries this season. Jaren Forsyth returns on the offensive line, and is a strong defensive end as well. Heading into the season, Brecken Lewis and Austin Obering are in a battle for the starting QB spot. Defensively, Brecken Lewis is back at linebacker after a strong sophomore season. Collectively, Cedar will be a young team this season, but coach Todd Peacock believes the talent is certainly there to be competitive. 2012 RECORD: 1-8. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.
6. SNOW CANYON: A year after narrowly missing the 3A playoffs, Marcus Matua takes over as head coach for the Warriors. He inherits a program that’s missed the playoffs six straight seasons and desperately needs a boost. He doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience to work with this season, as the Warriors return just three starters on offense, including Bowman Loo and Keaton Plant on the offensive line. Defensively, Snow Canyon will lean heavily on senior linebacker Trevor Horlacher, who led the team in tackles a year ago with 109. 2012 RECORD: 6-4. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.
7. PAYSON: Payson faced two 3A teams that ultimately advanced to the 3A semifinals last season— Spanish Fork and Desert Hills. Those two teams scored 45 and 48 points, respectively. A product of those struggles was youth, but with seven returning starters the Lions hope that isn’t a problem in the new region. At the heart of the defense is junior linebacker John Harmon, who tallied 129 tackles last season. Offensively, Payson only averaged 19 ppg last year, but it returns six starters, including three O-linemen. Running back Phill Perez hopes to benefit from that O-line experience. The tailback is small, but he’s a playmaker if he’s given space. 2012 RECORD: 4-7. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Desert Hills in first round.
Follow Deseret News prep editor James Edward on Twitter @DNewsPreps
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