High school football: Tough play expected to continue in rough-and-tumble Region 6

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13 2013 6:20 p.m. MDT

Preston Curtis, right, breaks past a Mountain View tackler during the East High School vs. Mountain View High School football game at Mountain View High School in Orem, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. The Panthers won 49-0.

Ben Brewer, Deseret News

Physicality is the name, and brutality is the game for teams playing in Region 6. Chiropractors are the first people on speed dial, and ice tubs have never been more popular.

Amid an ever-changing landscape of high school football in the state of Utah that sees many teams employ air-raid offenses, schools in Region 6 have refused to go along with any trends.

East, Highland and Bountiful have notoriously bullied teams with their physical play over the years. With the addition of Kearns — along with Woods Cross, Cyprus and Clearfield — players unafraid to smack opposing teams upside the teeth dominate the region.

“Kearns will learn it’s a physical region,” East coach Brandon Matich said. “We beat the crap out of each other; everybody is black and blue in this region.”

East is once again the preseason favorite, but Highland returns many members that contributed to a 4A semifinal season in 2012. Then, Bountiful is implementing a pistol offense to complement its traditional I-back system in an attempt to utilize perhaps the deepest receiving corps in program history.

“I think this is probably the most talented Bountiful team that (coach Larry Wall) has had in a long time,” Matich said. “He’s got those two trees on the outside that can catch the ball. …They’re going to be tough to deal with.”

Kearns is showcasing talent across the board, and is expected to cause several headaches after moving down from 5A. Although it lost several players to graduation, Woods Cross has an abundance of speed that could prove troublesome for opposing teams.

“I think it’s an every-week deal. You better have your ‘A’ game coming into every single game,” Wall said. “If you’re looking past somebody you’re going to get beat. There isn’t much margin of error if you’re competing for a region title and a great seed in the playoffs. You can’t afford to stub your toe too many times.”

Region 6 is known for its large Polynesian influence — a culture known for its natural brute strength and size. Highland’s Bryan Mone, for example, is 6 foot 4, 330 pounds and is the best bet to win any arm wrestling contest.

“Anytime you’ve got a guy like Bryan Mone on the line. I mean what do you do with him? He’s gigantic and stronger than everyone else,” Matich said. “In high school football that causes problems. That’s going to be a bugger to deal with.”

However, not every team is primarily situated on the ground. Woods Cross and Clearfield mix up their routines with hurry-up, passing offenses to compensate for lack of size in comparison with the other teams in the region.

“You’re playing in a (region) where there’s monsters. They’re huge,” Clearfield coach Will Hawes explained when asked why the Falcons switched to a spread offense. “But a guy's bench press, squat, power clean — all those power exercises — are irrelevant if he can’t put his hands on you. He can be as big and strong as he wants to be — if he can’t utilize it against you it’s irrelevant.”

Deseret News projections for Region 6 football teams in 2013

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

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