Back in the summer, Sky View football coach Craig Anhder cringed at the thought of some Region 5 coaches tabbing his team as the league favorite.
Though flattered by the extra attention, Anhder thought the last thing his players needed was an inflated ego, especially for a program that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008.
“I don’t like preseason polls; I don’t like predictions; I don’t think they mean anything,” said Anhder. “I think you have to earn what you receive. I want us to earn it; I like things to be earned. I’ve learned in life that if you don’t earn it, you don’t appreciate.”
At the midway point of the regular season, it’s safe to say that Sky View has earned the accolades it’s receiving.
Ranked 11th in the Deseret News' statewide top 25 rankings, the Bobcats are off to an impressive 4-1 start this season, and after last Friday’s 59-14 blowout victory over Provo they lead 4A in scoring with 45.0 ppg.
Sky View’s only setback was a 34-28 Week 1 loss to defending 4A champion Timpview, a game in which it had the T-Birds on the ropes in the fourth quarter.
That narrow road loss against one of 4A’s elite, however, affirmed for Sky View’s coaches and players what they believed all summer — they were good enough to compete for the state title.
In the four weeks since losing to Timpview, Sky View has blown out Maple Mountain, Minico (Idaho), Bonneville and Provo, with running back Dane Anderson and quarterback Braxton Godderidge taking turns stealing the spotlight.
The competition is about to get much tougher though.
Over the next three weeks Sky View faces Mountain Crest, Logan and Box Elder, programs that all had Region 5 title aspirations heading into the 2013 season as well.
A year ago Sky View lost to Mountain Crest 44-24, Box Elder 40-22 and Logan 52-17, so it certainly has its work cut out.
This Friday’s game against struggling Mountain Crest is a tricky test for Sky View. On paper, it’s a game the Bobcats should win, but they haven’t beat their Cache County rivals since 2007.
No question, however, the biggest test will come next week at undefeated Logan. The Thursday night game will be televised on KJZZ, and the winner will have an inside track at the Region 5 championship — and at a 4A championship too.
“You look at our league and a team in our league has played for the state championship almost every year, eight out of the last nine years, something like that,” said Anhder before the season started. “We haven’t always won it, but Mountain Crest has been there a few times and Logan has been there a few times.
“It’s our turn, absolutely. I’m excited to see if we can make that run.”
So far Sky View is proving it’s capable of such a run, but it still has a lot to prove.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company