Ravell Call, Deseret News
In terms of realignment, the new Region 7 might be the state's most exotic league.
The addition of three Utah County schools — Mountain View, Orem and Timpanogos — has added a southern flavor, while Murray, Olympus and Skyline represent the already established broth. Sprinkle in first-year school Corner Canyon to contribute the necessary secret ingredient that has yet to be tasted and — voila.
Realignment uniquely brewed new competition between unfamiliar teams, but continued to cook already heated rivalries in this league.
“It’s an interesting region and we’re excited to take on some Salt Lake teams,” said Orem coach Tyler Anderson. “I think Skyline and Olympus are great programs. Murray has been down a bit, but they should be better. And then Corner Canyon, that‘s a complete unknown there. I‘m just glad we‘re hanging on to rivalries against Timpanogos and Mountain View.”
Timpanogos coach Ed Larson echoed the same sentiments.
"I'm grateful that we still get to retain our great rivalries with quality programs like Mountain View and Orem,” he said. “Orem is obviously going to be very tough this year and one thing I know about (Mountain View) coach (Jon) Snyder is he'll field a very tough team that will give everything they got no matter what."
Many of the schools will face each other for the first time either in history or after a lengthy hiatus.
“I think it’s really competitive,” Skyline coach Steve Marlowe said. “It’ll be nice to play with those Utah County schools. Orem is going to be really, really good. We played them in 7-on-7 at BYU and beat them, but you can just tell they’re a very good team.”
The big unknown in the region is Corner Canyon, the first-year school in Draper with a population primarily collected from neighboring schools Alta and Juan Diego.
“Corner Canyon is the wild card,” Olympus coach Aaron Whitehead said. “I truly believe they’re going to be in the fight. They have all this athletic ability coming in from Alta and Juan Diego. I just don’t see Corner Canyon being a typical first-year school.”
"I know that Corner Canyon is new, but don't think for a second that we're underestimating them because they're new,” Snyder added. “I know they got some very good players from Alta and elsewhere. That team is probably going to be as tough as any school in this region."
The region certainly added depth in terms of returning playoff experience. Excluding Corner Canyon, every team besides Murray qualified for the playoffs last year. However, only Orem secured a playoff win before eventually losing in the quarterfinals.
Deseret News projections for Region 7 football teams in 2013
(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)
1. OREM: The Tigers have improved each season under Tyler Anderson’s tutelage, and expect the trend to continue by advancing to Rice-Eccles Stadium come November. Operating out of an air-raid-like offense, the Tigers have the talent and the athletes to do just that. Receiver Nolan Gray returns on the outskirts after hauling in a state-high 1,514 yards and 17 touchdowns off 83 receptions. Parker Overly and Nic Anderson, who both produced efficient seasons in 2012, complement Gray on the hashes. Replacing quarterback Taylor Camp remains the biggest question mark. Taylor’s brother, Tucker, appears to be next in line. 2012 RECORD: 8-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost 34-25 to Highland in the quarterfinals.
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