High school football: Timpview remains the overwhelming favorite in new-look Region 8
Teams like Salem Hills and Provo are largely in the same boat as Springville entering this season. Provo had a winless year under first-year coach Cody Mallory last season, while Salem Hills showed slight improvement under first-year coach Joel Higginson.
“That first year is a steep learning curve and I think most of us have to learn that the hard way. I know I did,” said Higginson, whose team finished 3-7. “I think we made some moves in the right direction and we have some good players returning for us this season.”
Maple Mountain has proved a tough out under coach Brad Burtenshaw. The Golden Eagles finished with a gleaming 9-2 record last season, but were blanked by Box Elder 20-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
“Maple Mountain, that’s a tough team and they’ll always be tough with coach Burtenshaw there,” Child said. “He has a good thing going and they’ll be tough again this year. I’m sure of that.”
Last, but not least is Wasatch — new to Region 8 and, like Spanish Fork, new to 4A.
“I think we have a tough region from top to bottom,” Whittingham said. “Wasatch, well we don’t know much about them yet, but I know they’ll fit right in. Whoever wins region this year, they’re going to have to earn it and that’s always been the case here.”
Deseret News projections for Region 8 football teams in 2013
(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)
1. TIMPVIEW: While question marks abound on offense, the Thunderbirds should be just fine defensively. Coach Cary Whittingham has a defensive background, and has been coordinating Timpview's defense for a while now. He'll return a solid line that adds the services of former BYU commit Isaiah Nacua from Las Vegas. On offense the cupboard isn't completely bare of experience with the return of players like as wideout Rhett Van Leeuwen. 2012 RECORD: 9-5. PLAYOFFS: Beat Mountain Crest for the 4A championship.
2. SPANISH FORK: Key returners for the Dons include Jason Money at quarterback, and a trio of standout receivers to throw to — Joey Anderson, Bennett Bradford and Moses Eyere. Coach Kirk Chambers will have to rebuild his offensive line and has a lot of replacements to make on defense. The team will be led defensively by defensive back Trevor Perkins. 2012 RECORD: 12-2. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Dixie in the 3A state championship.
3. WASATCH: The Wasps lost a lot of playing experience from last year's team, but still expect to compete immediately in their new classification and region. The team is replacing 17 starters on both sides of the football, but will have the talents of returning receiver Kayden Connor, who had 723 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. 2012 RECORD: 8-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost to Beaver in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
4. MAPLE MOUNTAIN: The Golden Eagles lost both their stars on offense and on defense with the graduation of quarterback KJ Hall and linebacker CJ Hildebrand. The team does returns KJ's little brother, Jaren Hall, who is expected to lead the team on offense. 2012 RECORD: 9-2. PLAYOFFS: Lost in the first round of the 4A playoffs to Box Elder.
5. SPRINGVILLE: The Red Devils will have a chip on their shoulder entering the season. A lot of returning talent, and a desire to avenge last year's disappointment will be the driving force. Springville returns 18 starters from 2012 and should see great improvement as a result. 2012 RECORD: 2-10. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.
6. SALEM HILLS: The Skyhawks return a lot of talent this season, including three returning offensive linemen, a good group of receivers and Porter Guston, a 6-foot-5 junior. With some first-year kinks worked out and a system in place, Salem Hills believes it's due for improvement. 2012 RECORD: 3-7. PLAYOFFS: Did not quality.
7. PROVO: Coach Cody Mallory took his lumps last season, but is optimistic for 2013. His program will play home games inside a brand-new stadium. The Bulldogs switched to a spread offense to better supplement their personnel. 2012 RECORD: 0-10. PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.