High school football: Balanced Region 1 will be 'battleground' from top to bottom
“We’ve been really good sometimes and had one of those games where we lost when we didn’t think we should have, and vice versa. Sometimes we haven’t been very good and been able to beat somebody else,” Bishop said.
Northridge coach Erik Thompson sees it pretty much the same way.
“On every given Friday, anyone’s gonna be able to win a game and you’d better come prepared,” Thompson said. “There are a lot of games in this region that could go either way.”
Region 1 newcomer Viewmont struggled through a subpar season last year, and Weber High has become the league doormat with a long losing streak going back a couple of seasons.
But Syracuse coach Russ Jones, whose team took the league title last year by going undefeated and is favored to repeat as region champs again this year, says Region 1 teams just keep getting better every year.
“Everybody in our region, to me, has improved from last year,” he said. “It was a heckuva job by our kids last year to go 5-0 and win the region. But I think every team’s improved this year from last year, and hopefully we have, too. I think anybody can beat anybody on any given day, I really do.”
Perhaps Layton High coach Jim Batchelor summed up the upcoming Region 1 campaign best
“It’ll be a battlefield,” he said, “like it always is.”
Deseret News projections for Region 1 football
(Preseason rankings are based on coaches' votes)
1. SYRACUSE: The Titans finished second in the state last season and have several key players returning from that team, most notably senior running back Kavika Fonua, senior offensive/defensive linemen Kaden Craig and Caden Hall, and senior linebackers Wyatt German and Teague Vigil. With six starters back on each side of the ball, Syracuse looks well-suited for a strong run at a second straight region championship. 2012 RECORD: 12-1 PLAYOFFS: Lost to Jordan 58-2 in 5A state finals.
2. DAVIS: The tradition-rich Darts will rely on senior quarterback Colton Chronister to spearhead their offense, and he's joined in their senior-laden lineup by running back Parker Rose and slotback Jayden Richins, with center Ammon Wall anchoring the O-line. Defensively, senior linemen Kawika Tupuola, Christian Hassan and Chandler Rudolph are joined by linebacker Davis Hansen in a formidable group. 2012 RECORD: 7-5 PLAYOFFS: Lost to Lone Peak 27-26 in 5A quarterfinals.
3. NORTHRIDGE: The Knights have somewhat of a rarity — a returning starter at quarterback — in senior Nate Kusuda, and junior running back Dayan Lake might emerge as one of the most electrifying players in the state. In senior receivers Robert Crawford and Houston Lacey and senior tight end Jace Colby, the Knights have plenty of playmakers on offense. Hard-hitting linebackers Austin Ricks and Jaiden Bair spearhead the defense. 2012 RECORD: 9-3 PLAYOFFS: Lost to Jordan 49-13 in 5A quarterfinals.
4. LAYTON: Hunter Evans gives the Lancers a third-year starter at quarterback, and with six starters returning on offense, Layton looks like it's ready to earn an invitation to the postseason party this year. Slotback Jordan Jaramillo and offensive linemen Brando Nieto, Landon Brown, Zerek Olson and Stetson Wood, along with defensive end Mason Ewing, are all returning starters that should help push Layton into the playoffs. 2012 RECORD: 3-8 PLAYOFFS: Lost 5A play-in game to Davis 23-16.
5. FREMONT: The Silver Wolves are expecting big things out of junior quarterback Justin Shaw and junior tight end/defensive end Paxton Merrill. Junior running back Cole Bingham and senior wide receiver Hyrum Packard are also being counted on to make plays for the offense, as is senior slotback Parker Preator. With the backbone of its team coming from a big and talented junior class, Fremont may be a year away from serious league title contention. 2012 RECORD: 4-7 PLAYOFFS: Lost to Bingham 38-0 in 5A quarterfinals.
6. VIEWMONT: Thanks to realignment, the Vikings return to Region 1 again to renew rivalries with some of their former longtime Davis County rivals, as well as Fremont and Weber. Viewmont went 0-3 against Region 1 foes last year, though, losing by a combined score of 126-13 to Davis, Layton and Syracuse. Viewmont has a tight-knit group of athletes with great senior leadership from the likes of starting center Dallin Tracy. 2012 RECORD: 2-9 PLAYOFFS: Lost to Syracuse 54-0 in 5A playoffs' first round.
7. WEBER: The Warriors and first-year head coach Matt Hammer will try to get that gorilla-sized monkey off their backs that has seen Weber go without a win since September 2010. The cupboard certainly isn't bare by any means, though, and they've got some good athletes in junior quarterback Cole Dean, senior running back Auston Tesch and senior tight end/linebacker Huston Wade, so that monkey had better be looking for a place to land. 2012 RECORD: 0-10 PLAYOFFS: Did not qualify.